BSNL will launch 4g services in 6 months: Chairman Pravin Kumar Purwar
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has started on an ambitious revival programme after the cabinet approved a relief package last month. The state-controlled telco’s 36,000 employees have opted for voluntary retirement scheme (VRS), its chairman, Pravin Kumar Purwar, told ET Telecom in an interview. He said BSNL is expected to launch 4G services in six months, and is spending Rs 12,000 crore on the next generation network. Edited excerpts:
What are the challenges in the revival package?
The government has given a very good package. The management of BSNL and the officers will ultimately have to deliver the services with respect to the expectation of customers. Enablement of 4G services is a vital aspect, since as a telecom carrier a bouquet of high-speed data services were not provided.
By when is 4G spectrum expected to be allocated?
It will take six months to launch the service. We are looking at upgrading the existing equipment, and identifying locations to make services available at the earliest. We are also going for a tendering process, as it would take a longer time.
How much will BSNL spend on 4G network?
The 4G spend is expected to come to around Rs 12,000 crore over a period of 24 months.
How many people have opted for VRS till now?
36,000 employees have opted for VRS, as of now. We are expecting 70,000-80,000 individuals to take the scheme. We are also expecting more than 3,000 group A officers to opt for VRS.
Vendors say that due to BSNL’s dues, jobs of 100,000 employees are at stake? Your view on it?
There are a few challenges. We expect that once the revival package starts getting implemented, we will have reasonable amount of cash to meet our expenses. BSNL was not able to make timely payment and it’s only a thing of delayed payment. We expect that in the next 2-3 months, things will start moving.
How many land parcels have been identified so far as a part of assets monetisation drive?
We have identified 14 high-value land parcels, worth about Rs 8,000 crore, which can be easily monetised as part of a phased approach. In addition, we are getting all support from the government to overcome existing challenges.