Private companies are allowed to start mobile service in India, in the year 1995. At that time, DoT was the government service provider. But, DoT was not allowed to start Mobile service. BSNL could start it’s mobile service only in the year 2002. Thus, the government service provider was able to enter the mobile segment only after seven long years after the private operators entered. This is a well planned discrimination against BSNL, by the government.
From 2006 to 2012, BSNL was not allowed to purchase mobile equipments. One after another, the tenders floated by BSNL, to procure equipments, were cancelled by the government, under one pretext or the other. During this period mobile connections grew exponentially in India. And the benefits were reaped by private operators. And it was during this period BSNL went into loss. BSNL is unable to get out of the loss even today.
3G spectrum was auctioned in the year 2010. But, BSNL was not allowed to participate in the auctioning. Later on, BSNL was compelled to purchase 3G spectrum, at the price paid by the private operators. Once again, BSNL could start it’s 3G service only after the private operators did.
4G service was started by the private operators in 2015. But BSNL was not allowed to start 4G. It was only after long and continuous struggles waged by the unions and associations, did the government make the announcement in 2019 that, BSNL would be given 4G spectrum. But even thereafter, government did not allow BSNL to purchase equipments from global vendors like Nokia, Ericsson, etc. All the private operators are purchasing equipments from the global vendors without any restriction. Government intentionally created road blocks in BSNL‘s 4G launching. It is a tragedy that, even today, BSNL has not been able to launch its 4G service.
Now, government has decided to allow only private operators to start 5G service. Again, BSNL is discriminated and side-lined. How long will the government discriminate against BSNL? (Courtesy: BSNLEU Website)