Monday, March 16, 2015

Government rules out privatization of BSNL, MTNL

NEW DELHI: Government today ruled out privatization of BSNL and MTNL even as it admitted that the two state-run telecom service providers were not in the pink of their health.

Responding to a supplementary during the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, said the intention of the government was to bring them back to profitability.

"The financial health of MTNL and BSNL are not in good shape. There are several reasons for this which I want to discuss in the House in greater detail one day. However, we will make them healthy," he said. 

Prasad also said that the two erstwhile profit-making entities have been incurring losses for some years and one of the reasons for their downfall could be traced into the way these were "forced to function in those days".

"We need to improve health of these two companies. There is no attempt to privatize them," he said, adding that 25,000 mobile towers are being installed by BSNL and MTNL to improve their services.

To another question, Prasad said the telecom subscribers base in the country is set to touch one billion mark soon from 97.9 crore as on December-end.

Regarding mobile tariff, he said service providers have the flexibility to offer different tariff schemes depending on the market conditions and other commercial considerations.

"The rates charged by mobile service providers for various types of calls differ from service area to service area. The rates offered by the same operator in a service area could also be different depending on the traiff plan subscribed by each individual consumer," he said.  

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