Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha on Friday said there is no proposal to merge state-run telecomcompanies Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) and Ma hanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL). “There is no proposal to merge BSNL and MTNL. We had appointed a consultant to revive MTNL, who has given some recommendations. We are working on it,” the minister said onthe sidelines of a conference here. He, however, did not elaborate on the recommendations of the consultant but reiterated that no merger proposal for the state-run firms is on the cards.
The publicly-listed MTNL serves the national capital and financial capital alone, while the unlisted BSNL serversthe rest of the countr y and also anchors several key projectsfor the government.
A May 7 news report had quoted an unnamed official saying that there is a proposal given by the central public sector enterprises to merge all the state-run telecom firms,to create a publ ic sector behemoth. Sinha, who was speaking on the sidelines of thedepartment of telecom-organised seminar on 5G technology, said the government will do it all to ensure that the country gets the latest generation telephone services.
“Getting 5G to reality is our government’s priority and we are serious about it,” he said.Speaking at the same event, BSNL’s chairman and managing director Anupam Shrivastava quoted some estimates which peg the total investments required for a pan-India rollout of 5G services at up to Rs 50 lakh crore, but affirmed that the industry will deploy the technology by December 2019.
It can be noted that the entry of Reliance Jio in2016, coupled with policy initiatives like the deep cut in th e interconnect user charges have led to financial troubles at a majority of the telecom companies, consolidation in the sector
and job losses.