City-based Skipper Limited has bagged an order worth Rs 2,570 crore from BSNL as the government-owned telecom firm looks to scale up its 4G presence in the country. In July, the government approved a revival package for BSNL amounting to Rs 1.64 lakh crore.
BSNL floated a tender in October 2022 for a requirement of 1 lakh 4G sites across the country, mostly in uncovered villages under 4G saturation projects. Besides a fresh infusion of capital, BSNL’s revival hinges on fresh spectrum allocation, de-stressing the balance sheet and augmenting the fibre network through the merger of BBNL (Bharat Broadand Nigam Limited) with itself.
Skipper, which is a prominent manufacturer of telecom and railway structures, on Friday said the contract awarded by BSNL includes the supply and erection of ground-based telecom towers, installation of infrastructure items and subsequent operation and maintenance for five years (capex and opex model), extendable by five more years.
Skipper’s work will be executed in Rajasthan and Odisha, using homegrown 4G stack and will be funded through the government’s Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) which has a reserve of around Rs 55,000 crore to be utilised for providing connectivity in rural and remote areas. “Backed by our forte in executing projects for the telecom sector, this is another significant win for us,” said Sajan Kumar Bansal, managing director, Skipper Limited.
“The marketplace looks exciting and ripe with opportunities and the company has a positive outlook based on strong traction in domestic telecom on account of future 4G upgradation and 5G rollout to support high bandwidth usage requirements which will draw more infrastructural capex into the sector.”
“We are also witnessing strong traction in the power T&D and polymer market segments,” Bansal said. BSNL’s net losses had declined to Rs 6,982 crore in 2021- 22 from Rs 15,500 crore in 2019- 20 and in the first six months of the ongoing fiscal year, the net loss of the PSU was Rs 3,589 crore. City-based Skipper is one of the leading companies in power transmission and distribution, and in polymers.