New Delhi: State-run telecom Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has been facing a massive exodus of customers due to a delay in 4G roll-out, BSNL Employees Union (BSNLEU) has told Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in a letter and has sought urgent intervention in the matter. “As per the data released by TRAI, tens of lakhs of customers are leaving BSNL every month. In August 2023, 22,20654 customers have left BSNL. This number has increased to 23,26751 in September 2023. The number of customers who have left BSNL in 2022 was 77 lakh,” said BSNLEU general secretary P Abhimanyu in the letter.
“It is needless for us to state that, BSNL is facing such a dire situation only because of its inability to provide high-speed data service to its customers,” the letter added.
BSNL has placed its purchase order for 1 lakh 4G sites with TCS. However, according to the BSNLEU, TCS has not even completed the field-level trials of its 4G equipment. “The CMD BSNL has informed the unions and associations that the commissioning of BSNL’s 4G equipment by TCS would be completed by October 2024. This target date of October 2024 itself is too long, considering the dire situation in which BSNL has been placed. However, it seems that meeting this target date itself has now become impossible,” said the BSNLEU general secretary in the letter.
In May 2023, the Group of Ministers (GoM) had approved the deployment of 1 lakh 4G sites for the rollout of the BSNL’s 4G network by a TCS-led consortium with a 20 percent reservation for state-controlled ITI. In October 2019, the Cabinet had allocated 4G spectrum to the public sector telecom.