State-run telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) lost 636,830 wireless subscribers in October 2023, taking its total mobile user base to 92.86 million as per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
Despite this setback, BSNL Chairman PK Purwar has revealed plans to capture 20% market share in mobile segment by end of 2024.
Ambitious 4G Expansion Drive
To boost subscribers, BSNL will accelerate its 4G network rollout across India this year while focusing on improving service quality and 100% uptime. Various marketing efforts are also underway, Purwar told reporters.
“Achieving 20% market share is practical if we maintain quality of service while rapidly expanding 4G and 5G coverage,” he asserted.
As of October 2023, BSNL holds meager 8.08% market share in wireless subscribers vis-a-vis private players like Jio’s 39.3% and Airtel’s 32.85% share. Even the struggling Vodafone Idea has 19.6% subscriber market share.
100,000 4G Sites Targeted By 2024
Emphasizing the importance of 2024, BSNL aims to install 100,000 4G mobile towers to boost coverage. Good progress is already seen in states like Punjab and Haryana where nearly 2,000 sites are live.
Purwar also revealed BSNL’s intent to launch 5G services from 2025 onwards by upgrading the 4G infrastructure.
50,000 4G Sites By Mid-2024
As per Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, BSNL will extend its 4G services to 50,000 towers by June-July 2024 across India, significantly improving its perception.
He expressed confidence that with locally-developed 4G gear, BSNL will massively expand 4G services by Diwali 2024.
Enhancing Network Quality
BSNL is proactively replacing old equipment in key circles like Delhi and Mumbai to enhance bandwidth and network quality. It is also collaborating with MTNL in these areas to offer unified services.
However, BSNL faces uphill battle to revive its financial health after years of losses including Rs 1,482 crore loss in quarter ended September 2023. The government expects it to turn profitable by 2026-27 fiscal year.