The Digital Communications Commission (DCC), the main decision-making body in the telecommunications department, is expected to discuss 5G trials and relief for BSNL and MTNL during their June 13 meeting, according to sources. India expects to roll out commercial 5G services on par with the world’s major markets by 2020.
“The DoT committee on 5G is ready to agree on the spectrum allocation for testing in all bands at a nominal cost of Rs 5,000 to 10,000 in one band for 1 to 1.5 years. There should be no shortage of spectrum during testing.” said an official.
The DCC is also likely to discuss an aid package for BSNL and MTNL before sending the proposal to Cabinet, according to a source.
Both companies also sought spectrum for 4G services through the infusion of government capital.
BSNL, which has the lowest debt of 14 billion rupees among all telecom operators, has sought out 4G spectrum across India through capital infusion of 7 billion rupees. The full spectrum will cost the firm Rs 14 billion.
The power supply units have also been ill due to the high income-debt ratio due to the large number of government employees who were transferred to them by the Department of Telecommunications at the time of their formation. BSNL has 1.76 lakh employees in India and MTNL has 22,000 employees.
MTNL requested reimbursement of the interest it paid for the broadband wireless access spectrum granted to it by the government and requested that it pay the price determined in the auctions held in 2010.
Both state telecommunications firms have applied for permits to monetize their land assets, as well as the voluntary retirement plan for employees in the Gujarat model. Under the Gujarat model, an amount equivalent to 35 days ‘salary is offered for each completed year of service and 25 days’ salary for each year of service remaining until retirement.
The VRS scheme for BSNL and MTNL will impact revenue of Rs 6,365 crore and Rs 2,120 crore respectively.
The ratio of earnings to wages in MTNL’s case has increased to 90 percent, while in BSNL’s case it is around 60 to 70 percent. The DoT has recommended that the VRSs of both USPs be financed through a 10-year bond issue and that the bonds be returned with the lease income that they will derive from the monetization of land assets.
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