BSNL to receive Rs 1.64 lakh crore relief package for revival

India’s Union Cabinet has approved a Rs 1.64 lakh crore package for the revival of state-owned telecom operator BSNL, Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said.
BSNL customers on mobile network
The revival measures approved by the Cabinet focus on fresh capital for upgrading services, allocating spectrum, de-stressing its balance sheet and augmenting its fiber network by merging Bharat Broadband Nigam Ltd (BBNL) with BSNL, a news statement said.

Ashwini Vaishnaw said the relief package has a cash component of Rs 43,964 crore and a non-cash component of Rs 1.2 lakh crore spread over four years. BSNL is the fourth largest telecom operator in India well behind Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.

The government will make administrative allocation of spectrum BSNL needs to offer 4G services. The allocation of spectrum in 900/1800 MHz band at the cost of Rs 44,993 crore would be through equity infusion.

India government will fund Capex of Rs 22,471 crore for developing 4G technology stack to meet the projected capital expenditure for the next four years.

India government will provide Rs 13,789 crore to BSNL as viability-gap funding for commercially unviable rural wireline operations done during 2014-15 to 2019-20.

The government said Rs 33,404 crore statutory dues will be converted into equity to de-stress the balance sheet.

Besides, the government will provide sovereign guarantee for raising money to repay current loans.

BBNL will be merged with BSNL to facilitate wider utilization of infrastructure laid under BharatNet.

Union Cabinet also approved a project for saturation of 4G mobile services in uncovered villages across the country at a total cost of Rs 26,316 crore. The project will provide 4G mobile services in 24,680 uncovered villages in remote and difficult areas.