State-run BSNL is seeking an extension of two-three years for its 2G licence, for which it has spectrum worth around Rs 35,000 crore. The licence is scheduled to expire on February 28, 2020. As per sources, the state-run company has already written a letter to the department of telecommunications (DoT) a few months back, urging it to revise the effective date of issue of its cellular mobile telephone service (CMTS) licence to May 28, 2002 or March 21, 2003. Once the government accepts this request, the licence period would automatically get extended.
Earlier this year, the government had extended MTNL’s licence by two years.
As per the current agreement, BSNL’s licence is effective from February 2000. The company has spectrum ranging from 6.2 MHz to 10 MHz in 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands across all its 20 circles for which it is offering 2G services to its customers. According to the price in the last round of auctions, the spectrum could be worth Rs 35,000 crore and the government has to take a call if an extension can be provided or not. Apart from that, the company also has 3G spectrum, which it acquired in 2010 and whose validity remains till 2030.
At the end of August 2019, BSNL had 116.23 million customers, a majority of whom are using 2G services. Although the government is in the process of allocating 4G spectrum to the company, renewal of 2G spectrum is also necessary to maintain continuity of services.
BSNL had sought allocation of an additional 5 MHz spectrum in the 2100 MHz band preferably contiguous to its existing 5 MHz block in the same band in all service areas, except Rajasthan where spectrum in not available, for offering 4G services. For Rajasthan, the operator has sought 5 MHz in the 800 MHz band for launching of 4G services.
The government recently gave a Rs 70,000-crore revival package to BSNL/MTNL as these firms have been facing severe financial crunch with declining revenues, rising losses and costs over the last few years.
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Source: Financial Express