India telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has revealed the financial performance of BSNL for the last three financial years.
BSNL, the state-run telecom operator, has lost revenue in the wake of competition from Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio. BSNL reported revenue of Rs 31,533 crore in fiscal 2016-17, Rs 25,071 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 19,308 crore in fiscal 2018-19.
The annual loss of BSNL enhanced in the last four years mainly to increase in salary to its employees. BSNL reported loss of Rs 4,859 crore in fiscal 2015-16, Rs 4,793 crore in 2016-17, Rs 7,993 crore in 2017-18, and Rs 14,202 crore in fiscal 2018-19.
Salary expenditure of BSNL touched Rs 15,715 crore during 2016-17, Rs 14,837 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 14,488 crore in 2018-19. BSNL has 163,902 employees including 46,597 executive and 117,305 non-executive employees till May 2019.
The telecom ministry said low tariffs due to competition in the mobile segment, high staff cost and absence of 4G services except in few places in the data centric telecom market are the main reasons for losses of BSNL.
BSNL board has approved the revival plan submitted by the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad.
Steps to improve position of BSNL
# Augmentation of mobile equipment capacity / upgradation of mobile network in its areas under Phase-VIII project by replacing old equipment having high operational cost & Annual Maintenance Charges, addition of 3G capacity for increasing 3G footprints and introduction of 4G services.
# Improve quality of wireline telephone network. BSNL is replacing Legacy Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) switches to Next Generation Network (NGN) which support different kind of services i.e. voice, video and data.
# BSNL has commissioned transport network with 200 GBPS line capacity connecting 47 state capitals and important.
# BSNL is deploying Wi-Fi hotspots through various projects which includes revenue share model with Hotspots Service Providers (HSSPs). BSNL has set up 43,500 Wi-Fi Hotspots till April 2019.
# BSNL has enhanced IP-MPLS (Internet ProtocolMultiprotocol Label Switching) network from 106 cities to 205 cities providing connectivity for broadband, NGN (fixed line) and 2G/3G requirements.
BSNL is planning to revive its business at a time when three private operators such as Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio have 90 percent of the mobile phone market. Since BSNL will take time to establish in the highly competitive 4G market, the result from the revival will not be encouraging for the government.
The revival of BSNL is important for India with 1.3 billion population. India should not be depending on three private telecoms for their connectivity demands.