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BSNL to TCS: Comply with 4G tender norms, finish equipment tests within deadline

State-run telecom firm BSNL has asked IT major Tata Consultancy Services to provide equipment as per its 4G tender norms and complete their testing within the extended deadline of December 31.

BSNL plans to float a tender for procuring equipment for 57,000 sites for 4G services. Before bidding for the tender, domestic vendors are required to demonstrate proof of concept.

While foreign vendors have 4G network equipment, this is the first time an attempt is being made in India to deploy indigenously developed 4G technology.

BSNL issued a letter of intent to five domestic telecom equipment companies but except a consortium of TCS, Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) and Tejas Networks, all other eligible bidders including Tech Mahindra and HFCL had backed out from the project.

BSNL, however, on November 3 wrote to TCS highlighting several shortcomings in the deployment of equipment for the proof of concept (PoC) of 4G technology by the Indian IT major led consortium.

The state-run telecom firm said while antennas with transmission power of 40 watt are required for the PoC as per the expression of interest (EoI) norms, reports submitted by TCS show that only 20 watts antennas have been supplied and installed in the network.

“Also, from the letter of M/s TCS it is understood that M/s TCS is developing these RRH (remote radio head) now as the product is not readily available,” the letter said.

BSNL said it has extended all support to TCS for timely demonstration of PoC and even offered 31 sites for the test, out of which the IT major has selected 15 sites.

BSNL said TCS has not deployed the RAN (radio access network) equipment at a single site as per the norms of the EoI.

“It is, therefore, once again requested that M/S TCS may expedite the deployment of the PoC equipment as per the terms and condition of the EoI and offer the same for testing to the BSNL testing teams along with pre-test so as to complete the PoC well within the extended period ie by December 31, 2021,” the letter said.

An email query sent to TCS in this regard did not elicit any response.

However, an official from one of the organisations in the consortium said 20 watt antennas were shipped initially to start the PoC and the transmission power will be gradually enhanced.

“The consortium in India is building indigenous technology from scratch. Shipments of 40 watt antennas have now started. The PoC will be demonstrated within the set timeline. Some approvals from the government are awaited before the consortium readies for the PoC,” the official said.

According to the official, it is a game changing project for the country and the consortium wants to ensure that it meets all the objectives with utmost efficiency.

BSNL had floated a 4G tender worth Rs 9,300 crore for procurement of telecom equipment in March but it was cancelled later due to multiple reasons, including allegations by Indian companies that the project did not comply with preferential market access norms and was inclined towards foreign firms. PTI

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