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BSNL Employees Union Urges Minister Vaishnaw's Intervention Amidst Customer Exodus and 4G Delay

BSNL's struggle is attributed to its inability to provide high-speed data services, with competitors having already rolled out 5G services nationwide.


New Delhi: In a plea to Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw, the Hon'ble Minister for Communications, the BSNL Employees Union has highlighted a severe crisis facing Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). The union's letter, dated January 17, 2024, draws attention to the massive exodus of customers and the extreme delay in commissioning 4G equipment by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) data, the exodus of BSNL customers has reached alarming proportions, with millions leaving the state-run telecom company every month. In August 2023, 22,20,654 customers departed, a number that increased to 23,26,751 in September 2023. The cumulative loss since 2022 stands at a staggering 77 lakh customers. In contrast, private players like Reliance Jio and Airtel have experienced significant gains during the same period.

BSNL's struggle is attributed to its inability to provide high-speed data services, with competitors having already rolled out 5G services nationwide. The union emphasises the dire situation, pointing out that BSNL is left competing with 2G and 3G technologies while lagging behind in the deployment of 4G services.

The union highlights the delay in the commissioning of BSNL's 4G equipment by TCS despite earlier announcements. The Economic Times reported a statement from Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in May 2023, assuring that BSNL's 4G would go live in the next two weeks and 5G by December. However, the reality is far from these projections, as TCS has not even completed field-level trials, raising concerns about the viability of the stated timeline.

The CMD BSNL has informed unions that the commissioning of 4G equipment by TCS is now expected to be completed by October 2024, a target that the union deems too long, given the company's dire situation. The letter also mentions decisions by the government, including the denial of upgrading existing 4G-compatible equipment and the lack of parity with private telecom companies in procuring 4G equipment from global vendors, as factors contributing to BSNL's predicament.

The union calls for the personal intervention of Minister Vaishnaw to expedite the launch of BSNL's 4G and 5G services, emphasising that immediate containment of the customer exodus is crucial for the company's revival.

The union's letter underscores the importance of the government ensuring the timely supply of 4G equipment by TCS, given that BSNL is mandated to procure from indigenous manufacturers. Failure to do so, the union warns, could make the revival of the company extremely difficult, even with the launch of 4G and 5G services.

In conclusion, the BSNL Employees Union implores Minister Vaishnaw to intervene personally and swiftly to help BSNL overcome its current challenges and ensure the timely launch of advanced services.

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