The Union Cabinet today approved merger of loss-making telecom firms BNLL and MTNL as part of a revival package that includes raising sovereign bonds, monetising assets and voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for employees. The revival package for BSNL and MTNL includes raising of ₹15,000 crore sovereign bonds and monetising ₹38,000 crore of assets in next four years.
BSNL has 1.76 lakh employees across India while MTNL has around 22,000 employees. The employee cost of BSNL is 75% and that of MTNL is 87% of their total income.
Pending the merger, MTNL will act as a subsidiary of BSNL.
The Cabinet also approved allocation of 4G spectrum on an administrative allocation basis, which will be done at 2016 prices.
“BSNL and MTNL will raise a sovereign bond of ₹15,000 crore for their revival and assets of both the PSUs worth ₹38,000 crore will be monetized. The Cabinet also approved an attractive VRS package for the employees. Government will provide 4G spectrum on an administrative allocation basis. The Cabinet has also given in-principle nod to the merger of BSNL and MTNL and till modalities are in place, MTNL will be a subsidiary of BSNL,” Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said at the briefing after the cabinet meeting.
MTNL is listed but has its net worth already eroded. BSNL is unlisted. MTNL operates in Delhi and Mumbai while BSNL operates in rest of India and mostly in the hinterlands.
State-owned operators BSNL and MTNL saw 2.15 lakh and 6,701 subscribers exiting their networks in August respectively.
As on August 31, private operators held held 89.78% market share of the wireless subscribers whereas BSNL and MTNL, the two PSU access service providers, had a market share of only 10.22%, according to latest TRAI data.
(With agency inputs)