BSNL, MTNL to get spectrum for 5G services without participating in auction

  • PSU telecom operators BSNL and MTNL will get the spectrum for 5G services without participating in an auction

  • Both loss-making companies have become EBITDA positive for the half-year ended September 2020- Prasad

  • BSNL and MTNL have raised Rs 8,500 crore and Rs 6,500 crore respectively on the basis of sovereign guarantee

New Delhi: The government will administratively allocate spectrum to telecom public sector units BSNL and MTNL for 5G and future services, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad informed Parliament on Thursday. "The allocation of spectrum to BSNL and MTNL will be done on the same principle as proposed for allotment of spectrum for 4G services," said the minister.

"Government also approved to administratively allot spectrum for providing 5G services to BSNL/MTNL, spectrum for maintaining current operations and future services on the same principle as proposed for allotment of spectrum for 4G services," Prasad said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha. 5G services are yet to start in India.

The minister said the government has allocated funds of Rs 24,084 crore for spectrum for 4G services in 2021-22 and BSNL invited an expression of interest (EoI) on January 1 for prior registration and proof of concept (PoC) for its upcoming 4G tender.

He said BSNL will manage the mobile services of MTNL in Delhi Licensed Service Area (LSA) from April 1. Prasad further added that both the loss-making companies have become EBITDA positive for the half-year ended September 2020 and nine months ended December 2020.

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As part of the revival package, the government also approved sovereign guarantees for bonds of Rs 15,000 crore to be raised by BSNL and MTNL for their debt restructuring.

"BSNL and MTNL have raised Rs 8,500 crore and Rs 6,500 crore respectively on the basis of sovereign guarantee extended by the Government," Prasad said.

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