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BSNL to raise $290.3 million via bonds, suggests report

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In Short:

BSNL, a state-run Indian telecom operator, plans to raise $290 million through two 10-year bonds backed by the government. The funds will help deploy 4G networks, upgrade sites, and attract more customers. BSNL’s revenue is not sufficient to cover costs, resulting in a decline in active customers. The company is offering a promotional upgrade to 4G SIM cards with free data.

BSNL to Raise $290 Million through Bond Issuance

bsnl said to raise 2903 million bonds

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), a state-run Indian telecom operator, is reportedly planning to raise 24.04 billion rupees ($290 million) through the issuance of two 10-year bonds. These bonds will be backed by the central government’s guarantee and have received a AAA (CE) rating from Crisil with an unconditional and irrevocable guarantee from the union government.

Need for Funds to Deploy 4G Network

BSNL requires the funds to deploy its 4G network, as it aims to upgrade 1 lakh sites across India. The state-run telco is procuring equipment from Tejas Networks and partnering with TCS for technology integration. The current revenue generated by BSNL is insufficient to manage existing operations and support network expansion.

Challenges Faced by BSNL

The lack of widespread high-speed networks in India has impacted BSNL’s ability to retain customers and attract new ones. With active customers falling below 50 million, the majority are low-paying subscribers using 2G and 3G services. To address this issue, BSNL aims to enhance its 4G coverage nationwide to improve service quality and customer retention.

Expansion of 4G Network

BSNL recently deployed 3500 4G sites across five North Indian states and is working on expanding its network in South Indian states as well. The telco is also encouraging customers to upgrade to 4G SIM cards with a promotional offer that includes 4GB of free data.

The promotional offer is valid until March 31, 2024, to incentivize customers to switch to 4G services.

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