MTNL, BSNL continue pursuit of 4G spectrum

30 Apr 2018

Indian state-owned telco Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) has written to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) seeking allocation of spectrum in the 800MHz and 2100MHz bands for 4G services, the Economic Times reports. The firm is asking for a 10MHz block in Delhi and a 5MHz block in the 2100MHz range for the Mumbai circle. In lieu of a cash payment for the frequencies the debt-laden operator has said it is ready to issue equity shares to the government at the market rate; MTNL estimates that the value of the requested spectrum to be around IN65 billion (USD974 million). The telco is roughly 57%-owned by the state, with around 19% owned Life Insurance Corporation.

In a related development, meanwhile, MTNL’s sister company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is expecting to be handed rights to 4G frequencies shortly. The operator plans to use a 5MHz block in the 2100MHz range across its entire footprint except Rajasthan, where it will use the 800MHz band.