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BSNL 4G roll out seems like a distant reality

One of the saddest stories in the telecom industry of India will remain of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). The state-run telco, despite having a PAN-India presence couldn’t make a strong impact in the telecom sector. BSNL has been running dry for years now, surviving on relief packages.

The telco has been unable to roll out 4G networks and 2021 is at the curb of ending. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), which is a partner of BSNL and is helping the telco with indigenous 4G roll out has failed to meet the conditions of the Expression of Interest (EoI).

BSNL has expressed its unhappiness with TCS on not meeting the EoI conditions. The state-run telco had asked TCS to use 40W radios instead of the 20W radios it was using primarily. 20W radios increase the need of more tower sites which also drives up the cost for diesel, maintenance, and more.

Due to this, BSNL has to extend its estimated time for 4G network roll out. The state run telco was earlier denied to upgrade 13,533 sites to 4G in western and southern India by the government nominees on the board.

Despite getting the nod from the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) for going ahead with the 4G upgradation plans, BSNL had to cancel it because the government nominees on the board felt that it was unsafe to go with Nokia equipment.

The government nominees wanted the telco to go with 4G network completely built in India, regardless of whether it hurt the company or not. Nokia is already working with private operators in India in the 5G trials.

There was no real security threats in using Nokia’s equipment, but the government nominees saw it in a different manner. The telco’s 4G networks might not come to life by the end of 2022. This is also if there are no delays. In case there are more delays, it is hard to say how BSNL will keep working with losses the way it is right now. TelecomTalk

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