BSNL draws Rs 15K cr capex

By : |June 11, 2007 0

Bhaskar Hazarika

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Rattled by the poor subscriber growth in the GSM segment, state-owned PSU, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has outlined a capex of Rs 15,000 crore for the fiscal 2007-08.

Overthrown from the second slot in terms of subscriber numbers in the GSM category, BSNL is planning expansion of it cellular services across the country. “We are planning an investment of Rs 15,000 crore for this fiscal mainly for the expansion of the cellular service and offer value added services to our customers,” a top official source informed.

The capex earmarked would be invested from internal funds, said the official. “However, we might borrow Rs 2,000 crore depending upon the financials. Apart from the cellular expansion it will also include broadband and landlines, but primarily it will be invested for cellular service,” the source added.

According to the statistics provided by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the GSM operators added 5 million subscribers in the month of May, driving the total subscriber base to 130 million.

In the month of April BSNL’s subscriber base stood at 27.75 million compared to Vodafone-Essar at 27.7 million. The PSU grew at 0.86 per cent during May with Vodafone-Essar grew at 5.44 per cent. BSNL added 2.38 lakh new subscribers, reaching it subscriber base to 2.79 crore.

However, Vodafone-Essar added 15.06 lakh new additions and touching the total base to 2.92 crore.

In the GSM space Bharti Airtel continued to hold on the top slot at 4.07 crore.

However, according to telecom experts, the PSU has added subscribers to it full capacity and the current infrastructure could not support more.

The official added that delay in the implementation of the 45.5 million GSM lines mega tender cause the decrease in subscriber base. One of the bidders had filed a petition challenging its disqualification from the tender.

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