Advisor to the Prime Minister and telecom czar Sam Pitroda on Thursday slammed state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited for losing its competitive edge over other operators by not starting 3G services earlier.
"BSNL had the licence earlier, but it lost the competitive edge, as now other operators have also started 3G services," Pitroda said while addressing a function to mark the launch of 3G services in Gauriganj.
"BSNL should think beyond connectivity and emphasis on applications," he added.
He said that people badly need better data facilities for panchayats, government schools, increasing productivity and efficiency.
"There are a number of challenges before BSNL and it can do a lot more on 3G and improving its services," he said.
He said that while other operators were concentrating on the urban sector, BSNL has a social responsibility to cater to all sections of the society.
"It has the capacity to do this, but unfortunately its operations are not up to the mark and BSNL is losing its cash reserves," Pitroda said.
"I don't want it to be in a position of Air India and it will be difficult for the government to pump Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 crore for survival of the BSNL," he said.
He said that Indian telecom services providers, who have the potential, should improve 3G services.
"You had the 3G licence two to three years back," Pitroda said.
When an officer pointed out that BSNL had to work in rural areas as well, Pitrodas retorted by asking what the company had done when it had the licence two years back.