BSNL employee union sends letter to IT minister, complains of delay in TCS-backed 4G network

The employee union of state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has reportedly sent a letter to Communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw seeking urgent intervention. According to a report in Economic Times, the BSNL Employees Union (BSNLEU) recently sent a letter to Vishnaw to complain about the fall in subscriber base.
BSNL continues to lose subscriber base following the holding up of next generation (4G) network deployment by a Tata group company, an employee group reportedly said. In the letter to Vishnaw, dated January 17, 2023, BSNLEU said, “BSNL is facing such a dire situation only because of its inability to provide high-speed data service (4G) to its customers. While Reliance Jio and Airtel have already rolled out their 5G service throughout the country. BSNL is struggling to compete with them with 2G and 3G technologies.”
“The launching of BSNL’s 4G service is getting terribly delayed and the same is nowhere in sight,” the letter added. BSNL operates Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) networks in two metropolitans – Delhi and Mumbai.
“We feel that it is our bounden duty to bring the alarming situation prevailing in BSNL to your kind notice,” BSNLEU general secretary P Abhimanyu in a letter to the minister said, adding that per the data released by the telecom regulator, “tens of lakhs of customers are leaving BSNL every month,” it further said.
More than 75 lakh subscribers have reportedly quit the BSNL network in 2022.
TCS-led consortium deploying BSNL 4G
In May 2023, the Group of Ministers (GoM) approved the deployment of 1 lakh sites for the rollout of the BSNL’s 4G network by the TCS-led consortium with a 20% reservation for state-controlled ITI. BSNL had issued an equipment purchase order (PO) to Tata Consultancy Service (TCS), a part of India’s diversified conglomerate Tata group in June last year.
Mumbai-based TCS-led consortium includes public sector firm Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) and Bengaluru-based Tejas Networks, acquired by Tata Sons.
State-controlled telecom service provider, earlier anticipated a 20% growth in revenues following the mass availability of its 4G services in the country.

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