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ETG declines to consider BSNL reluctance to use indigenous 4G network
The empowered technology group (ETG) headed by principal scientific advisor (PSA) K VijayRaghavan has on Wednesday declined to consider views of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) which had shown reluctance to use fourth-generation (4G) core network from domestic (desi) companies.
“The panel in its virtual meeting today has not considered suggestions put forth by BSNL against the telecom department’s (DoT) committee that recommended using core network from domestic companies, and building an Indian telecom stack with a focus on national security,” an industry source told ETTelecom.
Early this year, the Centre has formed an empowered technology group (ETG), presided by VijayRaghavan to advise on technology and equipment procurement strategy with a focus on indigenisation in the wake of heightened concerns around telecom networks security.
State-run BSNL expressed its reservations on the DoT’s technical committee headed by Member (Technology) K Ramchand’s suggestions advocating the telco to cut investments on 2G networks, and advised that the radio access networks (RAN) specifications should not restrict homegrown companies and the bid conditions for next generation of networks should be independent.
Besides arguing for 2G network which it said constitute more than 60% of its revenue, BSNL added that it couldn’t trust domestic core network which according to it remain untested, and showed its reluctance to use two separate core networks – one for 2G and 3G, and the other for 4G, and believes that a four-month timeline for conducting proof-of-concept (PoC) could not be sufficient.
The development would, however, discourage BSNL’s existing partners such as Finnish Nokia and Chinese ZTE who were the front runners to bid for the migration of as many as 49,300 existing 2G and 3G sites to 4G, as well as deploy 7,000 new sites for counterpart Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) in Delhi and Mumbai.
The Ramchand-headed group said that BSNL should not further invest in 2G technology, and if required, the state-run telco may separately invite bids or add-on order in Phase-8.4 tender.
Former BSNL chairman Rakesh Kumar Upadhyay seconded the telco’s views saying that the Indian core network was not tested, and added that the rollout of 4G network to any meaningful scale is already over delayed.
BSNL had to scrap the notice inviting tender (NIT) floated on March 23 to procure 4G equipment following the allegations of bias using restrictive terms by homegrown telecom companies. TelecomTechie
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