New Delhi: Indian state-run debt-ridden telecom major Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd has asked the government to refund Rs 83.13 billion for surrendering its broadband wireless access (BWA) radio bandwidth in 20 circles, Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Milind Deora said.
"BSNL, in their recent letter, dated March 29, 2012 has submitted proposals with two options: for surrender of BWA spectrum in 2.5-2.69 GHz band allotted to them in all the 20 circles and requested to refund Rs 8,313.9 crore," Deora said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha, the Lower House of the Indian Parliament.
Besides, the firm has also suggested second option, seeking a refund of Rs 67.24 billion for surrendering BWA spectrum in six circles -- Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Kolkata, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, alleging that the company was allotted non-standard frequency, Deora said.
Earlier in 2010, the state-run firm, which faces fierce competition from its private peers Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone India Ltd, had acquired BWA spectrum for Rs 85 billion and was allotted non-standardized band of BWA spectrum in 20 circles. However, the firm was not provided any option to pick and choose circles as it was made to match the highest bid received for each circle in the auction.
At present, BSNL offers telecommunications services in 20 of India's 22 telecom service circles, and had about 96 million mobile phone subscribers and 23.31 million fixed line users on its network at the end of November 2011.
The company reported a loss of Rs 60 billion in fiscal 2010-11, against Rs 18.23 billion in fiscal 2009-10, due to high employee cost and payments made for acquiring 3G and BWA spectrum.