Hamstrung by their huge debt position, government-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) are seeking to surrender their 4G spectrum, and want the government to refund the spectrum fee they paid.
The two companies want the government take over their debt, an official of the department of telecommunications (DoT) told Hindustan Times. The PSUs have said they are not in a financial position to launch the high-speed 4G services.
BSNL has offered to surrender spectrum in six large circles — Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kolkata, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, while MTNL has offered up its spectrum in the two metros, Delhi and Mumbai. BSNL paid R6,724 crore for spectrum in these circles, while MTNL paid R4,533 crore for the two metros.
MTNL has an outstanding debt of R8,477 crore with PSU banks, while BSNL has a debt of R2,561 crore. BSNL wants that the balance spectrum fee be set off against the annual spectrum and licence fee that the company has to pay.
In a recent presentation to DoT, the two companies said they are passing through financial pressure and can not launch new services.