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BSNL’s confident of defending turf at Rs 17,000 crore revenue in FY22

Bharat Sanchar Nigam expects over ₹17,000 crore revenue from services in FY22, a tad lower than the previous fiscal, mainly due to the removal of call connect charges that used to bring in additional inflows, according to its Chairman and Managing Director PK Purwar.

Purwar asserted that the state-owned telecom corporation is confident of retaining its customer base and defending its turf with quality 4G services to be launched in the coming months, even as competition intensifies with private telcos gearing up for 5G services.

“The start of 5G offerings by private operators will not place BSNL at an immediate disadvantage, as the device ecosystem for the new-age services is still evolving,” he said, adding that preparation for BSNL’s 4G services launch is well on track.

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is targeting a 4G rollout in 2022.

“Despite the challenges, we have been able to maintain stable revenue (from services, excluding other income) in FY22. Against ₹17,452 crore income from services in FY21, this year we will close at over ₹17,000 crore of revenue,” Purwar said.

The decline is because of the removal of interconnect usage charges, he added. The call connect charges, which have been scrapped, was bringing in an additional revenue stream of about ₹600-800 crore for the telecom corporation, and its discontinuation has dried up those inflows.

BSNL’s losses stood ₹Rs 15,500 crore in 2019-20 and had halved to ₹7,441 crore in 2020-21.

“For this fiscal, we expect losses to be at similar levels as last year,” the BSNL Chief said.

The spectrum auctions will be conducted in 2022 to facilitate the rollout of 5G mobile services in 2022-23 by private telecom providers. The market is gearing up for the rollout of 5G services that will usher in ultra high-speeds and spawn new-age services and business models.

BSNL will engage with successful bidders (TCS, Centre for Development of Telematics and Tejas Networks) for commercial discussion, so the procurement process can be taken forward, Purwar explained.

Revival plans
According to Union Budget documents, the government will infuse ₹44,720 crore into BSNL in the next financial year. The provision is made for capital infusion for the 4G spectrum, technology up-gradation and restructuring in the telecom PSU.

To strengthen the state-owned telecom corporations, the government had approved a revival plan for BSNL and MTNL in 2019.

The revival plan included measures to reduce the staff cost through a Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS), administrative allotment of spectrum for providing 4G services with funding through budgetary allocation, monetisation of non-core and core assets to generate resources to retire debt, meet capex and debt restructuring by raising of sovereign guarantee bonds.

BSNL and MTNL have turned EBIDTA positive (operating profit) in 2020-21 as a result of these measures. PTI

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