BSNL is likely to oppose any move by India government to block foreign telecom network vendors from participating in its 4G network tender.
Capex of BSNL is estimated to be around Rs 11,000 crore. India government is not keen to work with foreign telecom network vendors such as Nokia, Ericsson, Samsung, Huawei, ZTE, etc.
BSNL aims to deploy 50,000 new 4G sites in north, east, west and south zones of India and around 7,000 new sites for Delhi and Mumbai zones (for MTNL) for an investment of Rs 8,697 crore.
BSNL, a state-run mobile operator, will also upgrade around 43,000 2G and 3G sites to 4G, costing another Rs 3,500-Rs 4,000 crore.
Niti Aayog, the think tank body of India government, has recommended that BSNL’s 4G network be made using only locally designed, developed and manufactured (IDDM) networking products.
BSNL has already delayed its 4G business at a time when Indian telecoms such as Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea have enhanced their 4G network capacity across India, adding to their mobile data revenue.
BSNL officials feel that proposed plan to bar foreign vendors like Nokia, Ericsson, Samsung, ZTE or Huawei from participating in BSNL’s 4G tender would delay the project. The decision will also result into cost escalation in procurement of equipment by more than 25 percent.
BSNL officials said that it is ironical that the government which is providing money to the PSU for revival should favour any move which escalates costs as well as delays in rollout of the network, Financial Express reported.
Interestingly, India government has not yet blocked private telecom operators such as Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio from using mobile network supplied by Nokia from Finland, Ericsson from Sweden, Samsung from Korea, ZTE and Huawei from China.
BSNL has pointed out during a recent meeting with Niti Aayog officials that it has come out with the tender after due deliberations regarding the latest specifications of technology and any external interference in the process is not fair for a company which is supposed to run on commercial lines.
BSNL chief PK Purwar told Niti Aayog officials that “the 4G tender is in public domain and anyone can buy and bid. What BSNL needs is 40-watt transmission power/port/RAN, etc, which are ready to use and already deployed,” Purwar said during the meeting.