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Allow BSNL subscribers to use Vi’s 4G network, says BSNLEU

Data released by TRAI shows that 22,20,654 customers had ported out from BSNL in the month of August 2023, and in the month of September 2023, another 23,26,751 customers had ported out from BSNL. This massive exodus is nothing but the non-availability of high speed data service with BSNL, since the PSU has yet to launch its 4G service, says P. Abhimanyu, General Secretary, BSNL Employees Union in a letter to Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology.

“We understand that the shifting in the date of BSNL’s 4G launching (from October 2024 to December 2024) is due to the fact that, the delivery and installation of 4G equipment to BSNL, by the TCS, is getting inordinately delayed. We learn that, the 4G equipment of the TCS have not even completed the field trials till today. Our genuine apprehension is that, the commissioning of BSNL’s 4G network by TCS may get even more delayed.

The ground reality is that, both Reliance Jio and Airtel, armed with the state-of-the-art 5G technology, have started poaching BSNL’s customers. In this backdrop, the delay in BSNL’s 4G launching is seriously affecting the company’s financial revival, as envisaged under the Revival Packages offered by the Government of India.

Presently, the Government of India is Vodafone Idea Limited’s (Vi) largest shareholder, with a 33.1 percent stake, after the accrued interest towards the AGR arrears of the Vi was converted into equity in February, 2023. UK’s Vodafone Plc and India’s Aditya Birla Group jointly own 50.4 percent in Vi.

We request that, the Government of India, by utilising its status as the largest shareholder in Vi, may kindly ensure that, BSNL is allowed to immediately provide 4G service to its customers, by utilising the 4G network of Vi. This will only be a temporary measure, till BSNL’s 4G network is commissioned by the TCS. We earnestly appeal to you sir, to kindly consider this suggestion and ensure the immediate launching of BSNL’s 4G service. This timely intervention, to be made by the Government of India, will go in a big way to stop the massive exodus of BSNL’s customers and also to ensure the early revival of BSNL.”

The minister’s decision is awaited.

CT Bureau

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