BSNL to invest Rs2,500 crore in the second half of FY17 on expansion plans

BSNL’s internal funding will go into expansion of Wi-Fi hotspots, installation of mobile towers and strengthening of core networks


BSNL has opted for a mix of “capex and opex model” for Wi-Fi roll-out. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
BSNL has opted for a mix of “capex and opex model” for Wi-Fi roll-out. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

New Delhi: Stepping up investments on projects that entail internal funding, state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) will pump in aboutRs.2,500 crore during the second half of this fiscal in various projects such as expansion of Wi-Fi hotspots, installation of mobile towers and strengthening core network.

“Our investments for full fiscal are in two parts. About Rs.4,000 crore is earmarked for BSNL’s own projects and Rs.3,000 crore for government-funded projects,” BSNL chairman and managing director, Anupam Shrivastava told PTI.

“For projects that are being funded by us, we have already pumped in about Rs.1,500 crore during the first half of the fiscal, and about Rs.2,500 crore will be invested between October and March for setting up of Wi-Fi hotspots, GSM expansion and strengthening of core network,” he said.

Installation of mobile towers in Left-Wing Extremist states, BharatNet and Defence’s network for spectrum project, are among the government-funded programmes being executed by BSNL.

Projects that are funded internally include expansion of Wi-Fi hotspots, GSM mobile network, and strengthening of core network, that is, laying of optical fibre and investment in related network equipments.

Under the GSM expansion project, BSNL will install 20,000 BTS this fiscal to improve service quality, and most of these would be installed between now and March, he said. The telecom PSU, has opted for a mix of “capex and opex model” for Wi-Fi roll out.

Also read: BSNL to increase data capacity by up to two fold to 600 terrabyte

“Currently, 2700 Wi-Fi hotspots are already in place in the country and we would like to take it to 40,000 Wi-Fi hotspots by March 2018. Our Wi-Fi strategy is based on opex and capex model,” he said.

The ‘opex model’ involves creation of Wi-Fi hotspots by franchisees who install, manage and run the sites for a period of five years. The partners are also responsible for sales and marketing activity and operate on revenue-sharing model.

Under the ‘capex model’, BSNL creates and owns its Wi-Fi hotspots, he explained.

“We are going to connect these hotspots to our mobile network and therefore when our mobile customer enters our Wi-Fi zone, the data session will be seamlessly transferred to the Wi-Fi hotspot. It will be part of his data package, but he will suddenly start getting high speeds,” Shrivastava added.

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