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Meanwhile, the central government is yet to approve BSNL’s Rs 24,500 crore deal with a TCS-led consortium to roll out 4G services. This includes equipment supply and maintenance for around 100,000 4G sites.
A government official said TCS and Tejas carried out the deployment of 200 sites and supply of equipment as part of the pre-order placed by BSNL to test 4G services. There is no delay in BSNL awarding the tender for purchase of equipment. Due to delays in launching 4G services, BSNL has lost 9.2 million mobile subscribers in the last 13 months ending January.
The company had a total subscriber base of 105.13 million at the end of January, according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) data. In January alone, the state-owned telecom operator lost nearly 1.5 million mobile subscribers. This is the highest rate in 13 months. Over the past three years, the company’s market share in terms of wireless subscribers has declined from 10.3% in January 2020 to 9.21% in January 2023.
The number of domestic connections (FTTH – fiber-to-home) has increased from 50,000 per month five-six months ago to around 1,30,000. Vaishnav said about the development of Bharatnet project. The government aims to provide broadband connectivity to 250,000 gram panchayats by 2025 under the Bharat Net programme. BBNL is the implementing agency of Bharat Net.
In 2017, the Cabinet had approved a financial assistance of Rs 42,068 crore for Phase-1 and Phase-2 projects of Bharat Net. In 2021, the cabinet sanctioned another Rs 19,041 crore to implement the project in public-private partnership (PPP) mode, though it failed to attract interest from private players.
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