BSNL’s 4G Will Launch In Next 24 Months; BSNL Will Never Be Sold To Private Firms
Sanjay Dhotre, minister of state for communications addressed Parliament and said that Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL)’s 4G rollout will be completed in the next 18-24 months.
He also stressed that the Centre had no intentions to privatise BSNL.
BSNL And Made In India Telcos
BSNL had invited bids on Jan 1 from strictly Indian telcos to participate in its upcoming 4G tender.
The government had allowed only those companies that are indigenously registered and based to express interest in BSNL’s 4G network.
This initiative led to promotion of Indian based and registered companies who had free reign to bid for their 4G equipment thereby lessening foreign dependence.
BSNL Revival Hinges On 4G
The Union Cabinet-approved revival plan for both BSNL and MTNL includes provisions for voluntary retirement scheme (VRS), allocation of resources to buy 4G spectrum and asset monetisation.
4G roll out is a key component of the package as it will likely contribute to high revenues in the wireless segment.
Rs 38,000 crore worth of asset monetisation has been earmarked by the govt over the next 4 years which will be used for debt retirement, bond servicing, upgrading and expansion of network, and finally, serving operational fund requirements.
Amendment To Facilitate Internet Shutdowns
Acknowledging the abuse of social media’s power and reach by terrorists, criminals and other anti-social elements, Dhotre said that amendments to Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency and Public Safety) Rules, 2017 has been passed along to all state govts.
The aim is to prevent the spread of hate or violent speech which seeks to disturb social harmony in the country.
The prevention measure is to shut down internet for any number of days in territories on high alert for violence and disorder.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the shutdown should not exceed more than necessary and the principle of proportionality must be adhered to.
Diverse Mobile Technologies
The govt is firm in that it will not scrap the 2G mobile communications system now that the 5G launch is just around the corner.
It is ultimately up to the operators to decide what technology for telecom services it chooses to deploy.