DCC to take up 5G trials, BSNL issue on 13 June

New Delhi: The Digital Communications Commission (DCC), the apex decision making body at the telecom department, is expected to discuss 5G trials and relief for BSNL and MTNL during its meeting on 13 June, according to sources.

India expects to roll out commercial 5G services at par with leading markets of the world by 2020.

“DoT committee on 5G is ready to agree on allotment of spectrum for trials across all bands at nominal cost of Rs 5,000 to 10,000 in a band for 1 to 1.5 years. There should be no shortage of spectrum during trials,” an official said.

The DCC is also likely to discuss a relief package for BSNL and MTNL before sending the proposal to the Cabinet, according to a source.

Both companies have also sought spectrum for 4G services through equity infusion from the government. BSNL, which has the lowest debt of Rs 14,000 crore among all telecom operators, has sought 4G spectrum across India through equity infusion of Rs 7,000 crore. The total spectrum will cost the firm Rs 14,000 crore.

PSUs have been also ailing because of high revenue-to-debt ratio due to a high number of government employees that were transferred by the Department of Telecom to them at the time of their formation.

BSNL has 1.76 lakh employees across India and MTNL has 22,000 employees. MTNL has sought a refund of interest that it paid for broadband wireless access spectrum which it was given by the government and asked to pay the price that was determined in auctions held in 2010.

NT Bureau