The government has received enquiries from 12 large telecom service providers from across the world for India’s telecom stack, Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Thursday.
He said the government’s Telecom Technology Development Fund (TTDF) would be slowly enlarged to Rs 3,000-4,000 crore over a number of years, from the current Rs 500 crore per year.
The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) under the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is in the process of developing a full stack of sophisticated telecom equipment fully indigenously. This includes designing a fully indigenous non-standalone (NSA) 5G core.
It is also creating India’s first-ever indigenously built standalone (SA) 5G core, considered to be a technological improvement on the NSA core, by October, 2023. The first domestically developed 5G radio and antennas would also be ready in the next six months, along with the 5G Radio Access Network (RAN), C-DoT officials had earlier told Business Standard.
“Only 5 countries have a full scale technology stack. These countries also had legacy telco infrastructure, which we didn’t,” Vaishnaw said.
Stating that the telecom stack was successfully tested for 5 million simultaneous connections back in July, Vaishnaw said India was trying to test the technology for 10 million simultaneous connections.
The entire technology stack would soon be deployed by state owned telecom operator BSNL as part of its plans to roll out 4G services in early 2023.
The government remains bullish on BSNL’s prospects. “BSNL has about 135,000 towers across the country, and especially in rural areas still unserviced by the three private telecom service providers. The 4G stack will be rolled out nationwide, and used by this major infrastructure network,” Vaishnaw said.
While the 5G radio will be ‘telco grade’ by March 2023, a network launch can be made by June 2023, people in the know have said.
The minister also said Indian telecom equipment manufacturers were now hoping to become exporters in just a couple of years.
Launched on October 1, the TTDF aims to fund R&D in rural-specific communication technology applications and allow the industry to build and develop a domestic telecom ecosystem focused on boosting IPR creation, design-led manufacturing, 5G, 6G and satellite tech and Internet of Things. Business Standard