The Standing Committee on Information Technology has asked the government to allot 4G spectrum to state-run telecom service providers BSNL and MTNL “at the earliest” so that they can compete and survive in the market. It noted that the voice market is already saturated and now the demand is 'data'. "The Committee is of the view that both BSNL and MTNL will lose the data market, if they are not given 4G services soon,” it said in a report tabled in the Parliament yesterday. The telcos have already submitted their proposals for 4G, which are being reviewed by the Ministry of Communications. In addition, BSNL and MTNL have also asked for another block of 5 MHz spectrum in the 2100 MHz band. Notably, BSNL’s chairman and managing director Anupam Shrivastava recently said that the company was planning to launch 4G service by the end of 2018. It also soft-launched 4G service in select locations of Idukki district in Kerala in February this year. The telco had utilised existing spectrum for this launch. In its report, the committee also reviewed the revenues and costs of the two telcos. BSNL Revenue receipts of BSNL declined in all segments except passive infrastructure. This was mainly because of hyper competition in the telecom industry and huge salary cost, as per the report. During 2017-18, BSNL set a revenue target of Rs.26,500 crore. However, till December, its total income was Rs 16,268 crore while expenditure was Rs.24562 crore, incurring a loss of Rs 8,294 crore.…
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