The cabinet has approved plans to allow loss-making state-backed telcos Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) to return their broadband wireless access spectrum (BWA) holdings for a refund. Business Standard writes that BSNL will receive INR67.25 billion (USD1.085 billion) for its unused frequencies, whilst MTNL will get a pay-out of INR45.34 billion. Information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari said at a press briefing after the cabinet meeting: ‘The money will refunded over a period of time as part of the revival package, as both the companies are passing through difficult times.’ As previously noted by CommsUpdate, in April 2013 telecom minister Kapil Sibal called for urgent action to revive the two debt-laden telcos, with the official estimating that MTNL’s value had been ‘completely eroded’, whilst BSNL ended the 2012-2013 fiscal year with losses of INR81.98 billion.
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