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BSNL would take at least 2-3 years to roll out 4G

The Sanchar Nigam Executives’ Association (SNEA), an officers’ association of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), is of the opinion that it would take another two-three years for the State-owned telecom operator to fully roll out 4G services. By then, other operators — who had begun 4G launches since 2014 — would be offering 5G services.

“It is high time the BSNL management took a look at all other alternatives to utilise the available network and the government-allotted 4G spectrum to provide data services with maximum speed and better coverage,” SNEA said in a letter to BSNL Chairman and Managing Director PK Purwar.

“It is a known fact that even if the Proof of Concept (PoC) is successful, the new tender may take at least two-three years to fully roll out and launch 4G services by completing the formalities. In another two-three years, other operators will launch 5G services. The fresh expenditure on 4G will be a waste…,” the letter signed by SNEA General Secretary Sebastin, said.

On January 2, BSNL had invited proposals for prior registration and submitting PoCs from Indian companies for its 4G tender.

BSNL had its network 4G-ready with an investment of ₹6,000 crore in 2018, while the government allotted spectrum in October 2019. However, the firm is yet to launch the services.

According to SNEA, BSNL should immediately avail the 5 MHz of 4G spectrum allotted to it and provide both 4G and 3G services. Further, the company, which is already using 13,300 Nokia base transceiver stations, should procure additional software and radio equipment from the Finnish telecommunications network provider.

“By procuring software, license and radio equipment from Nokia, we can give 4G services in two potential zones,” it added.

Nokia equipment are deployed in the potential south and western zone from where more than 60 per cent of the mobile revenue comes. There is no objection from the government to use Nokia equipment for upgrading the network, but the management not acting upon it, SNEA said.

With the available resources, BSNL should also improve the quality of 4G and 3G services across state and district capitals to help arrest porting out of existing customers and attract new users. Also, unutilised licences in certain circles should be diverted for 4G and 3G services, it said. The Hindu BusinessLine

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