The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has extended the unified license of the state-owned telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). The telco got its Unified License extended for the next 20 years. In addition, the department has also allowed the telco to operate its telecom services in Delhi and Mumbai telecom circles.
The telco had its license expired on 28th February 2020 and has been continuing to offer its service on an ad-hoc basis till now. The license extension has become a contentious issue, between the state-owned telco and the department.
With BSNL submitting a bank guarantee worth Rs 250-crore, the DoT has officially granted the telco fresh unified license with 20 years validity effective from February 29, 2020. This also takes the telco’s service area from earlier 20 telecom circles to all 22-telecom circles in India. The last two telecom service added being the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) and Mumbai metropolitan, which was until now operated by MTNL.
“The license has been granted in consideration of the entry fee, license fee and due performance of terms and conditions by the license. This License shall be valid for a period of 20 years from the effective date of this License unless revoked earlier for reasons as specified elsewhere in the document,” as per the DoT order.
The unified license extends BSNL’s national wide telecom services which include voice telephony, national long distance (NLD), international long distance (ISD), very-small-aperture terminal (VSAT), and the Public Mobile Radio Trunking Services (PMRTS) services.
Earlier, BSNL held old non-liberalised spectrum in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands which were good for 2G services. With the new set of Unified License, all the spectrum holdings of BSNL in these two bands become liberalised.
With 900MHz and 1800MHz getting liberalised along with the 2100 MHz and 2500 MHz bands which were already liberalised on the time of allotment, BSNL can seemly offer 2G, 3G and 4G services across all telecom circles.