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Due to losing mobile subscribers, BSNL net loss widens to Rs 1,482 Cr

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SHAKEELA ANDRABI

SRINAGAR: Due to poor performance, weak network signals and losing mobile subscribers, the net loss of Bharat Sanchar Nigam’s (BSNL) has risen to Rs 1,482 crore in the July-September quarter, from Rs 1,470 crore in the April-June quarter, the company’s financial statement shows.
About 14 out of 32 circles during the quarter as well as for the half-year ended September reported a fall in revenue for BSNL, sources said, adding that these circles include Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Punjab, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, parts of North-East, Telangana, Andaman & Nicobar and Chhattisgarh.
Five circles, including Kerala, North East Task Force, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, which reported growth in the first half of the financial year, slipped to red in the July-September quarter.
The decline in revenues during the quarter is mainly due to weak performance in cellular business, broadband and enterprise segments. Revenue from the cellular business that accounts for nearly 42 percent of BSNL’s top-line fell 11 percent Year-over-Year (y-o-y) to Rs 1,702 crore. Sequentially, the revenue from the cellular business rose 1.6 percent. The revenue from the broadband services fell 19 percent Quarter-over-Quarter (q-o-q) to Rs 855 crore, while that from the enterprise business fell nearly 10 percent q-o-q and 22 percent y-o-y to Rs 952 crore. On a y-o-y basis, the revenue from the broadband segment rose 12 percent.
BSNL has been continuously losing mobile subscribers for the 20th straight month as of August end, owing to weak network services and absence of 4G services, according to data by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
The company’s subscriber base was at 95.8 million as of August end. Its active subscribers are nearly half of its total subscribers, according to TRAI data.
In a recent letter, after the results, Chairman and Managing Director PK Purwar has asked all the circle heads to improve their performance in the remaining half of the year. Besides, the circles that performed weak have been asked to share a detailed plan. “Even while we are rolling out indigenous 4G and 5G services, there is a lot of scope for revenue generation in all existing services that BSNL provides,” Purwar stated in the letter.
The higher sequential loss during the quarter can largely be attributed to an increase in expenses on advertisement, business promotion and marketing, interconnect usage charge to other operators, higher revenue share to business partners, bad debt write-off, and expenses on construction contracts, among others.
On a year-on-year basis, the company’s net loss narrowed from Rs 2,033 crore in the corresponding quarter last year largely due to a fall in employee benefit expenses, licence and spectrum fee, finance cost, etc. A continuous fall in revenues for the second straight quarter in July -September, following three consecutive quarters of growth ,also weighed on the bottom line.
BSNL’s revenue from operations fell 5.1% quarter-on -quarter on Rs 4,071 crore. On a year on year basis, the revenue fell 6.6 percent.For the half-financial year ended September, the company’s revenue rose marginally to Rs 8,360 crore, the standalone statements showed.
In the Lok Sabha in August, Minister of State for Communications, had said BSNL’s operating profit rose 65 percent year on year in FY23 to Rs 1,559 crore.
The government has set the revenue target of the company at Rs 20,008 crore in FY24. For FY25 and FY26, the company has revenue targets of Rs 24,428 crore and Rs 28,476 crore, respectively.
BSNL has currently deployed the 4G network in pilot mode across 200 tower sites in three districts of Punjab – Ferozepur, Pathankot, and Amritsar.
Last month, Purwar said that BSNL will start rolling out 4G services commercially from December, with a target of pan-India rollout by June 2024. The company will first deploy the services in Punjab, followed by Haryana, Uttarakhand and other circles. After testing the 4G services on 200 tower sites, BSNL will complete installing another 3,000 4G sites by November end, and will continue to increase the number, Purwar had said.

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