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Report: Indian government approves merger between state-owned telcos

The Indian government approved a revival package for state-backed operators Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd., The Economic Times (India) reported Oct. 23, citing Telecommunications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

As part of the revival package, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam, or MTNL, will merge with Bharat Sanchar Nigam, or BSNL, and act as its subsidiary. Prasad reportedly said the government would put in 299.37 billion Indian rupees to make both telcos competitive. In addition, the government will allocate 4G spectrum to BSNL and MTNL.

The revival package also includes raising 150 billion Indian rupees through sovereign bonds, monetizing assets worth 380 billion Indian rupees in four years and voluntary retirement scheme for employees.

BSNL reportedly has an estimated loss of 140 billion Indian rupees in fiscal 2019.

As of Oct. 22, US$1 was equivalent to 70.82 Indian rupees.