BSNL eyes wi-fi, data to wipe out losses
State-owned BSNL is scaling up capital expenditure in wi-fi, landline and mobile businesses, hiving off tower unit into a subsidiary, monetising land, factory and educational institute assets to generate over Rs 6,000-7,000 crore to dial profit by 2018-19, BSNL chairman and managing director Anupam Srivastava told dna.
“We have prepared a complete plan, and we project that year-by-year losses due to depreciation will go down by 2018-19, when transition will take place wherein our profits will able to balance the depreciation which is always going to be between Rs 6,000 crore and Rs 7,000 crore,” he said.
Srivastava said the current loss of around Rs 7,000 crore was largely due to depreciation and the public sector undertaking (PSU) needed to generate an equal amount to profit to erase it.
To improve the revenue, the government telecom company is aggressively looking at tapping wi-fi and data businesses and will be investing close to Rs 6,000 crore to create hotspots across the country.
He said BSNL was looking to increase the number of wi-fi hotspots from the current 200 to 2,500, which will generate an additional revenue of Rs 1,000 crore this fiscal.
The PSU chief said the state-owned firm was also considering setting up its own wi-fi hotspots instead of the current revenue-sharing with network companies, wherein its share is 33%.
Under the current model, the wi-fi hotspots are being put up, maintained and marketed by private companies, who are awarded the government contract.
“Most advantageous part is there is someone else putting the money to put up the hotspots, maintaining it and doing its sales and marketing. So, that gives us safe position,” he said.
However, now that the government had tested the water for wi-fi tech market, it wants to jump headlong into it to cash in.
“Having gone this far and having seen the interest in people we (BSNL) feel that this particular business has a lot of potential. At this point of time, we are doing revenue-sharing and so have not committed a lot of money, but we are thinking of going for capex model, where we will ourselves buy wi-fi hotspots and install it. For this, we are initially planning to invest Rs 6,000 crore in the next three years for setting up 40,000 wi-fi hotspots countrywide,” he said.
BSNL expects to earn close to Rs 1,000 crore from its data business, which has lately picked up along with its landline and voice business because of the recently announced innovative schemes.
“We feel majority of our revenue will come from these businesses (voice, data, landline and wi-fi),” said the BSNL head.
These incomes would be supplemented by monetisation of the telco’s land, factory, educational institute and tower assets. BSNL was looking to eventually in increase its revenue from tower business to Rs 2,000 crore from Rs 200 crore, at present.
“When we talk about tower monetisation, the process is on. We earn about Rs 200 crore revenue annually (from renting tower space). So, now we are thinking of giving direction to this business and we are thinking of having a subsidiary unit for the tower, which almost ready to be implemented. I am told the proposal has already gone to the Cabinet,” he said.
The PSU wants to take its meagre revenue from educational institute to Rs 600-700 crore.
[“source – dnaindia.com”]