Loss for state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has widened to Rs 8,161 crore in FY23, compared to Rs 6,982 crore. The increase in consolidated losses for the telecom operator during the year is due to the provision for adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues to the government.
During the year, the company made a provision of AGR dues worth Rs 17,688 crore, and received the viability gap funding of Rs 16,189 crore. Owing to this adjustment, the company showed an exceptional loss of Rs 1,499 crore, which increased its total net losses.
BSNL’s total expenses rose 5.1% to Rs 27,364 crore. Of the Rs 27,364 crore, employee cost, which includes salaries, wages, allowances, and other benefits, was at Rs 7,952 crore, an increase of 11% from FY22.
With regard to topline performance, the company surpassed the government’s target and clocked a 14% growth in revenue from operations. In FY23, its revenue from operations was at Rs 19,130 crore, compared to Rs 16,811 crore in FY22, according to the company’s financial statements.
For FY23, the company has a revenue target of Rs 17,161 crore, based on its memorandum of understanding) with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
A higher growth in revenue was largely led by increase in fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), leased line businesses and other operating income of the company.
Mobile services, which contributes 29% to BSNL’s revenue from operations, witnessed a 7% YoY increase at Rs 5,638 crore in FY23. The company’s revenue from the FTTH business grew 30% to Rs 2,071 crore.
The government has set the revenue target of the company at Rs 20,008 crore in FY24. For FY25 and FY26, the company has revenue targets of Rs 24,428 crore and Rs 28,476 crore, respectively.
With regard to circle wise performance, Kerala is the highest revenue generating circle for BSNL. However, in the financial year ended March 2023, the circle was amongst the nine non-performing circles with a fall in revenue.
In FY23, BSNL’s revenue from Kerala fell nearly 2% to Rs 1,656 crore. Other circles which witnessed fall in revenue are Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Andaman and Nicobar, UP (West), Gujarat, Chennai, and Telangana.
“We have maintained the overall revenue. In fact, it has grown. Yes, there are some circles in which we have witnessed weakness because of absence of 4G,” Purwar told FE, adding that the focus of the company is to grow its FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) and enterprise business.
“In about six months, there will be a greater focus on the mobile services segment once we start deploying the 4G networks,” Purwar said.
The company has currently deployed the 4G network in pilot mode across 200 tower sites in three districts of Punjab – Ferozepur, Pathankot and Amritsar.
The company said it will first provide the services in high-revenue earning circles. The reason for the company to first launch 4G in key circles is to arrest the subscribers’ churn and increase its revenue. Currently, among the 30 circles, some of the high revenue earning circles for BSNL are Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Punjab.
As of March-end, BSNL’s wireless subscriber base was at 103.6 million, which is the lowest among all four operational telecom operators. In the last 15 months till March-end, the company lost nearly 11 million subscribers. Financial Express