Telecom minister rules out BSNL/MTNL merger

8 Jan 2015

Indian telecoms minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has ruled out the possibility of merging ailing state-owned telcos Baharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), news portal India Infoline writes, citing an Economic Times interview with the official. Prasad added, however, that the government would continue to work on rebuilding BSNL and MTNL individually, but did not provide details of any immediate plans. Whilst a merger between the two telcos to create a single entity with a pan-Indian footprint has long been considered one of the surest ways to pull the two loss-making operators out of the red, the process of unifying the duo has been considered too complicated. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that proposals to combine the two operators first surfaced in 2002, but it was not until 2011 – after BSNL recorded its first ever loss in the year to end-March 2010 – that the scheme was brought to the fore, although difficulties in carrying out the merger have seen the suggestion shelved and re-introduced several times.

India, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL)