Friday, March 31, 2017

MTNL to invest Rs 400 crore for 1800 towers

MAHANAGAR Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) will invest Rs 400 crore for installing and commissioning 1,800 mobile towers over the next 8-10 months to improve coverage and data speeds for its subscribers.
The loss-making telecom corporation said it has lined up the financing for the project from banks.
MTNL’s losses stood at Rs 2005.74 crore during the financial year ended 2015-2016 (FY16), which narrowed...
down from Rs 2,893.39 crore in the previous financial year (FY15), the Ministry of Communications informed the Lok Sabha recently. MTNL is currently “exploring the monetization of its assets which may contribute to its revenue,” the Ministry added. It is also looking to create a “managed service model with BSNL for its mobile network.”
MTNL's standalone net loss has widened to Rs 819.96 crore, surpassing its total revenue, during the three-month period ended December 31, hit primarily by finance cost. The net loss surpassed its total income of Rs 690.59 crore.
The total debt of MTNL reached Rs 19,418.23 crore at the end of December 31, 2016, from Rs 11,542.3 crore in 2012-13, according to official data. In 2015-16, MTNL reported total annual revenue of Rs 3,197.41 crore and net loss of Rs 2,005.72 crore.
MTNL is also in process of expanding its GSM/3G network in Delhi circle by adding 1800 new 3G sites, which will help handle additional mobile traffic, although a timeline was not provided.
"MTNL is taking up many network expansion initiatives. We are going to expand 1,800 sites in Delhi in the next 8-10 months," MTNL Chairman and Managing Director P K Purwar said.
The new towers, nearly 450 which are already installed and will undergo testing, are set to be commissioned from next month onwards in a phased manner, he added.
"We will be expanding at the rate of over 100 towers every month in Delhi...In some months it will be more...We already have 800 towers in Delhi...Many a times our subscribers face coverage issues or weak signals. The new towers and sites would enable better coverage and data speeds for our 3G customers," he said.
The network upgrade means that instead of the current 3.6 mbps, subscribers will get 21 mbps speeds, Purwar pointed out.
MTNL customers will, therefore, get better experience both in terms of voice and data, from next month, he added.
Asked how the company was planning to fund the project given its current financial position, Purwar said the total cost of the project is Rs 400 crore for which the company has tied up debt from banks.
"We are taking loan from the banks and the project cost is already tied up...So financing for the expansion is not a constraint," he said.
MTNL on February 14 reported widening of its standalone net loss to Rs 819.96 crore, surpassing its total revenue, during the three-month period ended December 31, hit by increase in finance cost. 

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