New Delhi : The Cabinet approved a refund of about Rs 11,258.48 crore for broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum surrendered by state-run MTNL and BSNL.
“The payout would be staggered and done over a period of time. The GoM was of the view that BSNL and MTNL did not participate in the auction of BWA spectrum, so it would be better to refund…that would contribute to (their) revival,” Information & Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said.
BSNL and MTNL did not take part in the 2010 spectrum auction and had been asked to match the price paid by the successful bidder for the airwaves. Both companies offered to surrender their spectrum and sought refunds of payments made. BSNL had paid Rs 8,313.8 crore, while MTNL paid Rs 4,534 crore, putting a heavy burden on their books.
BSNL is returning part of the spectrum and will get Rs 6,724.51 crore as refund while MTNL, which operates services in Mumbai and Delhi, will receive Rs 4,533.97 crore.
“Cabinet has also approved pension support for MTNL,” Sibal said. The GoM had also decided that the government would bear the pension burden for about 43,000 MTNL employees absorbed from the Department of Telecom.