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India proposes new rescue plan for state-owned telcos

Successive Indian governments have toyed with proposals to breathe new life into the two state-owned operators, BSNL and MTNL. Plans from break-ups to public offerings to mergers have been mooted but none has been implemented and the companies continue to lag behind their rapidly consolidating private competitors, led by Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio. The latest idea is a revival package worth about $10bn which would aim to reduce staff and costs and enable the operators to expand their mobile broadband coverage and capacity. The proposals include a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for employees, a reduced retirement age (from 60 to 58), and the allocation of additional 4G spectrum, worth INR200bn ($2.91bn), to BSNL plus up to INR130bn…

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