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BSNL to Receive 4G Spectrum from April 1; Expansion in Next 19 Months

BSNL to Receive 4G Spectrum from April 1; Expansion in Next 19 Months
Highlights

BSNL and MNTL’s towers are leased to Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone-Idea, besides using for their own business.

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) will start4G expansion soon. The Central government has announced 4G spectrum allocation for BSNL as part of reviving the public sector undertaking. "BSNL has been allotted 4G spectrum from April 1 and 4G technology will be implemented in 19 months," Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre, Minister of State for Telecom, informed the Parliament. The progress comes after the Central government assured the Rajya Sabha that BSNL and MTNL wouldn't be shut down and the plans to revive the state-owned telecom operator is on the way. BSNL is trying to launch 4G services in the country to compete with Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea.

BSNL and MTNL - India' Strategic Assets

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Telecom Minister, told the house that BSNL and MTNL are India's strategic assets, and during natural disasters, they have always come forward to help people. During the Question Hour, Prasad answered to the queries and said, "Don't be under this impression that BSNL and MTNL will be shut down. We have infused a revival package in them, and I assure you that these companies will not be shut down."

The Minister said the BSNL's revival plan includes the best utilisation of the land resources and other assets of these telecom companies. He further added that government policy permits infrastructure sharing. As per this policy, BSNL and MTNL are monetising their tower assets by sharing their towers with private telecom operators.

BSNL and MNTL's towers are leased to Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone-Idea, besides using for their own business. Also, they are using towers on rent from other telecom companies.

Out of total 13,416 mobile towers shared by BSNL, 8,363, 2,779 and 1,782 mobile towers are shared with Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea respectively. MNTL's 402 mobile towers are shared of which Jio has 137, Airtel 100 and Vodafone-Idea 165.

The Minister further added that BSNL and MTNL have unsettled dues of Rs 167.97 crore and Rs 11.62 crore from Reliance Jio Infocomm. The government is actively following the company to recover the money.

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