Indian government approves plans for BSNL-MTNL revival package, merger

24 Oct 2019

India’s Cabinet has approved a revival package for the country’s two ailing state-owned telcos – Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) – which includes a INR150 million (USD2.1 billion) infusion via sovereign bonds, as well as a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS), the allocation of 4G spectrum and a merger of the two operators. According to The Economic Times, the government has also agreed to a INR380 billion asset monetisation scheme over a period of four years, while it was noted that LTE-suitable frequencies will be allocated administratively at 2016 prices.

India’s telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was cited as saying of the matter: ‘Neither BSNL and MTNL are being closed, nor being disinvested nor hived off by the third party, but the government wants to make them professional.’ It is understood that MTNL, which operates in Delhi and Mumbai, will initially become a subsidiary of BSNL until such time as both of the companies are fully merged, with the minister specifically confirming: ‘MTNL will act as a subsidiary of BSNL.’

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