MTNL scoops USD65m refund for airwaves; BSNL merger due in three to four years

1 Apr 2016

State-owned telco Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) has received INR4.29 billion (USD64.75 million) from the government for the return of its 800MHz spectrum, the operator announced in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). MTNL notes that the government has approved total compensation of INR4.58 billion for the airwaves, of which INR4.29 billion had been disbursed by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) by 30 March 2016.

In a related development, MTNL’s chairman and managing director, Narendra Kumar Yadav, has said that it is his understanding that the telco is to merge with sister company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) in the next three to four years, the Economic Times writes. The operator is expected to turn profitable in the next financial year, following three years of narrowing losses after the government weighed-in to revive the ailing provider. Further, the official was quoted as saying: ‘In two years’ time, we should get around INR10.00 billion from asset monetisation which includes INR7.50 billion from optic fibre and INR500 million from the tower business.’ Commenting on the planned BSNL/MTNL merger, Mr Yadav explained that, for now, ‘there is more emphasis on synergy than on merger. [The] merger will take place but there is time, it is not a straight option.’