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BSNL to launch 5G services by April 2024, says Ashwini Vaishnaw

Bhubaneswar: State-owned BSNL will launch high-speed 5G services by April 2024, Union telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has said.
At a press conference after the launch of Jio 5G services by private telecom operators in Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack, Vaishnaw said that BSNL does not have a legacy network. "So there was a big advantage for BSNL as the entire network we are designing is in a way that it can be rapidly upgraded from 4G to 5G. That cycle will be very fast," the minister said.
"Entire Odisha will be covered by 5G services in 2 years. Today, 5G services have been launched in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack," the telecom minister said. Vaishnaw said the Modi government has allocated Rs 5,600 crore for strengthening the telecom connectivity in the state.
Today, 100 telecom towers for 4G services covering 100 odd villages in Odisha have been launched today.
Further, responding to a question on debt-ridden telecom firm Vodafone Idea, Vaishnav said that it has various requirements, including infusion of capital, adding discussions on that front are going on.
Vodafone Idea (VIL) is reeling under a debt burden of over Rs 2 lakh crore, has opted for converting about Rs 16,000 crore of interest liability payable to the government into equity, which will amount to around a 33 per cent stake in the company while promoters' holding will come down to 50 per cent from 74.99 per cent.
'Vodafone (Idea) has many requirements. It has a particular requirement for capital. How much capital, and who will infuse? All those things are under discussion at this point in time," Vaishnaw said.
Vodafone India had offered a stake to the government at a par value of Rs 10 per share and the government is waiting for the company's shares to stabilize at Rs 10 apiece.
"The responsibility of capital has to come from various sources. The company just doesn't require conversion. It requires capital. All those things are a complex issue," Vaishnaw said. (ANI)

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