State run telecom major MTNL may drop LTE 4G plans in India

Telecom Lead India: The state-run MTNL is planning to
drop its LTE 4G launch. The company did not get bid from potential partners for
launching BWA / 4G / LTE services in Mumbai and Delhi circles. The decision to
cancel its LTE service is happening at time when Bharti Airtel launch 4G
service in Kolkata on April 10.

PwC had suggested a technology neutral launch formula for
MTNL. Following this, due to severe revenue crisis, MTNL decided to opt for an
outsource model with revenue sharing for launching mobile broadband services.
TD-LTE was the preferred technology. MTNL was keen to share LTE revenue with a
partner who can deploy, manage and service network.

We did not get any quality response to our tender.
Considering the market situation, we are rethinking about our BWA plans. There
is no specific reason for not getting any final bid,” said a top official with

In fact, ahead of the spectrum auction for private
telecom players, MTNL was given a slot of 20 MHz BWA spectrum each in the Delhi
and Mumbai circles for Rs 4,534 crore in 2010. According to the TRAI
guidelines, the company was forced to match the highest winning bidding in the
auction held for private firms.


MTNL took a short-term loan of Rs 7,000 crore in 2010 for
acquiring the 3G and BWA spectrum in Delhi and Mumbai.

MTNL, which operates landline and mobile services in
Mumbai and Delhi, reported a higher net loss of Rs 929.77 crore for the third
quarter ended December 2011, compared to Rs 671.04 crore net loss in the
corresponding period last year.

Total income during the quarter fell 8 percent to Rs
874.76 crore from Rs 951.22 crore in the earlier corresponding period. The
company’s operating revenue, in turn, fell by 7.63 percent to Rs 852.09 crore
from Rs 922.52 crore in the earlier corresponding quarter.[email protected]