BSNL delays 4G launch to December 2024; union proposes to use Vi network

The union suggested utilising the Vodafone Idea Limited network because the government is the largest stakeholder in the company.
Representative Image.
Representative Image.(Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: As the state-owned telecom service provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) continues to delay its 4G launch, the company’s employees union (BSNLEU) has urged the government to temporarily utilise the network of Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) to provide 4G services to its customers.

In a letter to telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, dated February 13, 2024, the union said both Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, armed with 5G technology, have started poaching BSNL’s customers. Therefore, the delay in BSNL’s 4G launch is seriously affecting the company’s financial revival.

“The ground reality is that both Jio and Airtel, armed with the state-of-the-art 5G technology, have started poaching BSNL’s customers. In this backdrop, the delay in BSNL’s 4G launching is seriously affecting the company’s financial revival, as envisaged under the revival packages offered by the Government of India,” reads the letter.

The union suggested utilising the Vodafone Idea Limited network because the government is the largest stakeholder in the company. Currently, the Government of India holds a 33.1% stake in Vodafone Idea Limited (Vi) after the accrued interest towards the AGR arrears of Vi was converted into equity in February 2023. UK’s Vodafone Plc and India’s Aditya Birla Group jointly own 50.4% of India’s third-largest telecom operator.

Subsequently, the BSNLEU requested that the government, by utilising its status as the largest shareholder in Vi, ensure that BSNL is allowed to immediately provide 4G service to its customers by utilizing the 4G network of Vi.

“This will only be a temporary measure, till BSNL’s 4G network is commissioned by TCS. …This timely intervention, to be made by the Government of India, will go in a big way to stop the massive exodus of BSNL’s customers and also to ensure the early revival of BSNL,” reads the letter.

4G launch

Jio and Airtel, have started poaching BSNL’s customers. Delay in BSNL’s 4G launch is affecting the company’s financial revival, says employees’ union

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