BSNL is on life support courtesy of the Indian taxpayer, whatever fictitious paper profits it conjures up. The authors of a recent op ed in Hindu Businessline see through the fiction.
The government firms had their own share of sops such as (i) year-ahead early start in the assignment of both 3G and Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum in 2009 and (ii) reimbursement of about Rs. 10,000 crore of licence and spectrum charges during 2001-06, as part of commitment to BSNL corporatisation. However, the 6.2 MHz spectrum in the much valuable 900 MHz band held by BSNL/MTNL is coming to the end of its life in 2017 and it may have to be renewed pan India at the market value (if government does not provide sops once again!).
Despite the early release of spectrum, due to sloppy decisions in technology and service procurement, the BWA spectrum assigned to BSNL/MTNL in 2500 MHz band remains under and even unused in most of the circles, and has already been returned in about eight circles. The minister has also indicated that the spectrum in rest of the circles may also be surrendered soon.
That is just a sample. Try searching this site with BSNL as search term and you will see more.
I was amused by the proposal to allow others to use BSNL’s local loops. Within the first few months of our existence, we blogged about how such a proposal had been turned down by DoT. That was in 2004, almost 12 years ago.
A solution that could work in saving some of the taxpayer money is carving out the backhaul, as suggested by India’s own Ashok Jhunjhunwala five years ago.