BSNL has come one step closer to starting its 4G services in India with approval for spectrum allocation from the Department of Telecom (DoT). The Government-owned telecom and mobile services operator will be operating on 2100MHz spectrum. In its 2017 proposal for 4G roll-out, also asked for an additional capital infusion of Rs 6,652 crore out of the Rs 13,885 crore that it will need to acquire the spectrum and upgrade its infrastructure. The remaining amount is to be paid over a period of 16 years, through revenue generated.
While the DoT‘s approval is in place, the Union Cabinet’s agreement is needed in order to finally facilitate the actual roll-out. With the cabinet’s nod, the arrangements will be in place for the capital infusion and the allocation of spectrum to BSNL. Currently, the state-owned operator is active in most of the country, with the exception of Mumbai and Delhi where the smaller state-owned operator MTNL serves customers.
BSNL has fallen far behind private operators such as Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Jio, which have had a huge head-start in offering customers 4G services. Furthermore, these operators have also now brought down pricing to competitive levels, and also offered services in even remote parts of the country. These have served to negate the advantages that the state-owned operator once had, and the fact that it’s still on 2G and 3G spectrum has only made things worse for BSNL.
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While BSNL has been offering affordable and competitively-priced plans to customers, 4G connectivity will definitely serve to boost confidence in the government-owned service provider. With mounting competition from Airtel and Jio, BSNL will need to quickly roll-out its 4G services in order to remain competitive and relevant.