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BSNL, MTNL turn EBITDA positive in first half of FY21, marks improvement

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NEW DELHI: State-owned telecom companies BSNL and MTNL turned EBITDA positive in the first half of financial year 2020-21, demonstrating a marked improvement in performance within a year of approval of their revival plan, the Communications Ministry said on Monday.

While EBITDA of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) rose to Rs 602 crore during the first half of 2020-2021, that of MTNL stood at Rs 276 crore, it said in a release.

Both organisations expect to reduce their losses by 50 per cent when compared to 2019-20, it said.

In so far as 4G services are concerned, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has made its position clear that core network for 4G will be “totally made in India”.

BSNL and MTNL are strategic assets, and will provide a big impetus to Indian manufacturers in the field of telecom.

“Now within a year of revival plan, the state-owned undertakings Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) have turned EBITDA positive in first six months of this financial year,” the release said.

Put simply, Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation or EBITDA is a measure of a company’s operational performance.

BSNL is once again back on the track of profitability, it added.

The improvement in performance came on the back of a sharp reduction in wage bill due to Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) under which nearly 50 per cent workforce of BSNL and 75 per cent workforce of MTNL was reduced.

Further, BSNL was able to maintain its revenue and cut down on other costs.

BSNL is also rapidly expanding its Fiber-To-The Home (FTTH) connections and the progress is being closely monitored by DoT.

“In the mobile segment, market share has increased to 10.36 per cent in October, 2020 as per figures published by TRAI. BSNL added over 10 million new customers during this financial year in mobile segment.

“This has also given fillip to government’s Digital India drive of cashless transactions as online transactions increased by over 43 per cent in December, 2020 since last financial year,” the release added.

The government had approved the revival package for BSNL and MTNL in October 2019 which included VRS, support for 4G spectrum, monetisation of core and non-core assets, sovereign guarantee for bonds to be raised by the public sector undertakings (PSUs), and merger of MTNL and BSNL in the short run.

“BSNL and MTNL have very successfully raised money from the bond route. In the recent bond offer of MTNL, the issue was subscribed more than 3 times and for BSNL more than 2 times,” it said.

MTNL and BSNL have been able to monetise core and non-core assets totalling Rs 1,830 crore in 2019-20, and the number is expected to be in excess of Rs 3,000 crore in the current year.

As many as six properties are expected to be approved for auction through DIPAM route, it pointed out.

“BSNL is monetising its tower assets by leasing out its towers. It earned Rs 1,018 crore in the previous year and has planned to securitise the earnings from tower rentals.

“BSNL towers have unique preposition of fiber connection in more than 70 per cent which make them highly attractive for telecom service providers,” it added.

Earlier on Monday, in a release summing up the developments in the sector as part of yearly review for 2020, the DoT had said the process for spectrum allocation for 4G services to BSNL on pan-India basis, including Delhi and Mumbai, has been initiated and funds have been provisioned in FY2020-21.

It said that overall 92,956 employees of both the PSUs who opted for VRS have retired on January 31, 2020.

“The salary expenditure in BSNL and MTNL has reduced by around 50 per cent (about Rs 600 crore per month) and 75 per cent (about Rs 140 crore per month), respectively. EBIDTA has become positive in first half of FY2020-21 in both BSNL and MTNL,” it said.

Further, sovereign guarantee of Rs 15,000 crore has been extended to BSNL/MTNL. They have raised funds from market to restructure existing high-cost debt, the DoT release said.

Source: Press Trust of India

Mobile Services

Airtel joins hands Tech Mahindra

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NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel (Airtel), India’s premier communications solutions provider, and Tech Mahindra, a leading provider of digital transformation, consulting and business re-engineering services and solutions, today announced a strategic partnership to build and market innovative solutions for India’s digital economy by bringing together their core strengths.

Airtel and Tech Mahindra will co-develop and market 5G use cases in India. Airtel has been spearheading 5G demos and testing in India while Tech Mahindra has developed world-class 5G applications and platforms. Airtel and Tech Mahindra will set up a joint 5G innovation lab for developing Make in India use cases for the Indian and global markets.

The two companies will also bring to market customized Enterprise Grade Private Networks, which will be at the core of the digital economy. These solutions will focus on combining Airtel’s industry leading integrated connectivity portfolio of 5G ready mobile network, Fiber, SDWAN, and IoT along with Tech Mahindra’s proven system integration capabilities. The companies will initially focus on segments such as Automobiles, Aviation, Ports, Utilities, Chemicals, Oil & Gas and expand to other industries going forward.

Airtel and Tech Mahindra will also offer secure Cloud and Content Delivery Network (CDN) solutions to businesses. With enterprises rapidly moving to cloud based platforms as part of their digital transformation journeys, Airtel has built a formidable Hybrid Cloud portfolio with Airtel Cloud, Airtel IQ (CPaaS) alongside CDN offerings. Further, the two companies will explore leveraging Tech Mahindra’s technological expertise to support Airtel in Cloud Engineering, implementation of tools for Cloud Orchestration.

Ganesh Lakshminarayanan, CEO-Enterprise Business, Bharti Airtel said: “Airtel and Tech Mahindra have a shared vision of supporting the growth of India’s digital ecosystem. We are delighted to join forces with Tech Mahindra to bring to market a range of cutting-edge digital solutions for the emerging requirements of enterprises. With proven technology capabilities and deep customer trust enjoyed by the two brands, we believe this is a win-win partnership.”

Manish Vyas, President, Communications, Media and Entertainment Business, and CEO, Network Services, Tech Mahindra, said: “5G ecosystem will unlock immense opportunities for industries across sectors to improve productivity and enhance customer experience through digitally powered new-age platforms and solutions. We are excited to partner with Airtel to provide innovative and cutting-edge solutions for enterprise customers. In line with Tech Mahindra’s NXT.NOWTM framework, this collaboration is focused on offering next-generation services to the Indian market by enabling transformation via network, cloud engineering and customer experience.”

As part of NXT.NOWTM framework, which aims to provide ‘Seamless Customer Experience’, Tech Mahindra focuses on investing in emerging technologies and solutions that enable digital transformation and meet the evolving needs of changing customers.

 

 

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5g

3 Scandinavia expands 5G footprint with Enea’s policy control technology

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NEW DELHI: 3 Scandinavia, a leading provider of voice and broadband services, has deployed Enea’s 5G policy control solution as it continues to expand its 5G footprint. The solution will allow 3 Scandinavia to effectively launch, manage, and monetize new services in Sweden and Denmark.

Enea’s powerful policy platform will allow the Nordic network provider to differentiate services and ensure that all subscribers benefit from a consistent quality of service to match their chosen pricing plans.

Enea’s policy management platform, a fully virtualized, multi-vendor solution, has provided 4G policy control functionality for 3 Scandinavia since 2008. As the operator looked to scale its capabilities with virtualized architecture, it turned to Enea for 5G policy control. Enea’s platform delivers robust connectivity and cost-effective service management while bringing operational agility through its tight integration with provisioning systems. It is also vendor agnostic, which means that the operator has the freedom to work with any network access provider and can configure new types of 4G and 5G services in a matter of minutes.

“We are always striving to offer innovative services that appeal to our growing base of subscribers,” says Per Stigenberg, CTO at 3 Scandinavia. “In today’s world of stream-based entertainment and hybrid working, this means taking full advantage of everything 5G has to offer. Enea has demonstrated a thorough understanding of our needs and with their flexible product approach we are now able to deliver a next-generation connectivity experience for all our subscribers in Sweden and Denmark”

The solution from Enea also enables the operator to effectively manage several of its virtual Policy Control Functions (PCFs) across two physical locations in Scandinavia. With Enea’s platform deployed, 3 Scandinavia can efficiently support fully redundant 5G voice and data services throughout both Sweden and Denmark, allowing the operator to seamlessly control policies as subscribers move between 4G and 5G, and across their networks.

“Policy control is very much the brains of the operation when it comes to providing cellular services to millions of subscribers,” says Jonas Jacobsson, Senior Vice President of Service Provider Sales at Enea. “Without it, there is simply no way to differentiate service in terms of data allowance or speed, particularly with 5G where these configurations become even more granular.”

A report from Deloitte found that the number of 5G subscribers in Scandinavia has more than doubled in the past two years. As networks grow, policy plays a critical role to help operators scale and monetize 5G.

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Broadband

Broadband will not only provide facilities but will also create a big pool of skilled youth in Indian villages

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NEW DELHI: Rural digital connectivity is no longer mere aspiration but has become a necessity, said Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi while addressing a post-budget webinar on the recently announced Union Budget 2022.

The theme of the webinar ‘Leaving No Citizen Behind’ was aimed at bringing industry leaders, policymakers and government officials together to deliberate upon the positive impact of the budget and identify sector specific actionable strategies to collectively work towards furthering the common goal of upliftment of everyone with saturation of each household and village, leaving no one behind.

Speaking at the webinar, Prime Minister said that Broadband will not only provide facilities in the villages but will also create a big pool of skilled youth in the village economy. He further emphasized that Broadband, will enable expanding the service sector to rural areas and help in boosting the economy. He stressed the need for a saturation approach to provision of basic infrastructure, especially in aspirational districts. He also emphasized the need for spreading awareness about the use of such connectivity and healthy competition between villages in achieving targets.

The Union Budget 2022-23 has provided an impetus to the telecom sector through a budget announcement which proposes to allocate 5% of annual collections under the USOF to promote R&D and commercialisation of technologies and solutions in order to enable affordable broadband and mobile services proliferation in rural and remote areas. In addition it has also been proposed to cover all villages on optical fiber network by 2025.

In order to carry forward and sustain the momentum of budget and to create a sense of ownership in budget implementation by all relevant stakeholders, a series of webinars were organised through various Ministries and Departments. One such post-budget webinar was organised by Department of Rural Development on the theme “Leaving No Citizen Behind”. One of the break-away session was on “Road & Info way to all rural habitations”. This session was moderated by K. Rajaraman, Secretary(T), Department of Telecommunications, and was co-moderated by Dr. Ashish Kumar Goel, Addl. Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development.

In this session various eminent speakers such as P.K. Purwar, CMD, BSNL, Gopal Vittal, CEO, Bharti Airtel, Manoj Kumar Singh, ACS, Rural Development, Uttar Pradesh, Prof. A. Veeraraghavan, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras, and V. Sriniwas, CEO, Vishwa Samudra Engineering, Hyderabad talked about various aspects of broadband connectivity and development in rural roads sector.

It was felt that digital saturation is the foundation for the achieving all facets of development including financial, social or economic development especially in rural and remote areas.

For achieving 100% saturation, it was indicated that convergence of all stakeholders is required to provide cost and technology efficient services which is also part of GatiShakti program of the Government of India. BharatNet shall be leveraged for the same and utilised for early saturation of all rural and remote areas including ensuring uptime and SLA as per norms for better demand.

A need was felt that Outcome Focus shall be the main objective in all government programs and schemes. Innovation conferences may be one of the activities to ensure new development of technologies apart from focussed development of rural specific content.

Based on discussion and inputs of stakeholders, RoW issues were identified as key challenges and efforts need to be made to mobilise the State government departments including creation of National Portal for early resolution through Single window clearance.

Industry experts also indicated the need for focus on supply side and demand side constraints including power requirement of telecom, focus on green telecom and reduction in tax and fees structure and regulatory fees for the services etc. The implementation strategy of the Department for rollout of broadband in rural areas will include this valuable feedback and inputs from various stakeholders.

 

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