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AGR caused losses in BSNL FY23 balance sheet, albeit revenue saw 14% growth

BSNL saw 14% overall growth in revenue from operations in FY23, but the revenue for the state-owned telecom operator fell in nine out of 30 circles during the year, according to people aware of the matter.

The nine circles where the company witnessed a fall in revenue are Andaman and Nicobar, Kerala, Gujarat, Chennai, Telangana, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh (west).

BSNL CMD PK Purwar last month asked the chief general managers (CGMs) of the circles concerned to take remedial steps. The fall in revenue can be attributed to loss of subscribers in absence of 4G services.

“It can be seen that two circles have become borderline negative (decline up to 2%), five circles have become markedly negative (decline up to 6%) and two have slipped into the critically negative territory in the last one year (decline beyond 10%),” Purwar said in a letter to the CGMs. “I take this opportunity to urge all circles to take all possible steps and produce better results in the coming quarters.”

Among the nine circles, the revenue from Uttar Pradesh (West) fell the maximum at 19% to Rs 327 crore in FY23. Further, revenue from Punjab fell 12.5% to Rs 857 crore. Kerala, which is the highest revenue generating circle for BSNL, saw a 2% fall in revenue to Rs 1,656 crore in FY23.

“We are witnessing subscriber churn because of the absence of 4G services. In Kerala, which is the largest circle for BSNL, the subscribers have high purchasing power and therefore they want BSNL to launch 4G and we are on track to provide the services soon,” Purwar told FE last month.

Loss for BSNL widened to Rs 8,161 crore in FY23, compared to Rs 6,982 crore in FY22. The increase in consolidated losses for the telecom operator during the year is due to the provision for adjusted gross revenue dues to the government. Operating profit in FY23 was at Rs 1,559 crore, gainst Rs 944 crore in FY22.

Last week, the company gotfresh budgetary support of Rs 89,000 crore from the government, taking its total relief package to over Rs 3.2 trillion in the last four years.

The latest support comes in the form of spectrum allotment to provide 4G and 5G services pan-India, offer fixed wireless access services (FWA), as well as provide private networks solutions.

As of March-end, BSNL’s wireless subscriber base was at 103.6 million. In the last 15 months till March-end, the company lost nearly 11 million subscribers.

BSNL is yet to commercially roll out 4G services and is currently doing live testing on 200 sites in four circles of Punjab: Amritsar, Ferozepur, Pathankot, and Chandigarh. Its 4G stack will be upgraded to 5G by the year-end. Financial Express

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