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ITI Signs MoU with Tech Mahindra, sets sight on BSNL 4G tenders

ITI, a PSU engaged in the manufacturing of telecom and defense equipment has set its sight on the now delayed Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) 4G tender. The development was revealed on Monday by R M Agarwal, CMD of ITI in a video interview to CNBC TV18. ITI on Friday announced the signing of an MoU with Tech Mahindra for the new generation wireless technology with Agarwal on Monday highlighting that the MoU is largely dedicated to the BSNL tender. Agarwal projects the revenues in the range of Rs 2000 crores to Rs 6000 crores from the upcoming 4G and 5G business activity in India.

ITI Signs MoU With Tech Mahindra

ITI on Friday said that the MoU with Tech Mahindra will revolve around the 4G and 5G smart networks, smart cities and health care services. As part of the partnership, ITI will productionise 4G upgradable to 5G Radio Access Network. Tech Mahindra is tasked with the responsibility of providing the software IPs, implementation and integration services along with the operations and maintenance services.

“ITI with state of the art facilities and capabilities for manufacturing Telecom equipment plans to manufacture the eNodeB and 5G NR products in the different plants using Tech Mahindra software and wireless technologies,” Agarwal said in the release on Friday. “The partnership will not only help to reduce dependency on import of Telecom equipment from foreign countries but also address the concerns in building a strategic network for Defense Communication. Through this partnership we commit ourselves to the Government’s initiative of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.”

ITI said in the release that the partnership will cater to the needs of telecom players in India while also addressing the business opportunities across the globe.

“Tech Mahindra will bring state of the art platform technologies and software capabilities and ITI will use its world class manufacturing facilities and expertise to build wireless solution for next generations,” Sujit Baksi, president, corporate affairs at Tech Mahindra, said in the release.

BSNL 4G Tender Scheduled for August

The revised BSNL 4G tender issued in late March requires the vendors to deal with the planning, engineering, supply, installation, testing, commissioning and annual maintenance of 4G mobile network across India. BSNL estimated that the vendor would deal with around 50,000 sites of BSNL and 7000 sites of MTNL in the Mumbai and Delhi circle.

Following multiple delays, the tender was scheduled to be opened in late June. However, the escalated confrontation between the Chinese soldiers and Indian soldiers in mid June had resulted in DoT placing restrictions on BSNL from sourcing telecom equipment from Chinese vendors. Additionally, Niti Aayog, the Indian government’s policy think tank is said to have suggested BSNL to go for indigenously designed, developed and manufactured products for its 4G network.

Although BSNL currently lists the 4G tender as “postponed” with a tentative opening date of August 18, it is believed that BSNL will issue a fresh tender for procuring 4G equipments.

It has to be noted that the BSNL Employees Union (BSNLEU) voiced their concerns on the government placing numerous restrictions on BSNL procuring 4G equipment from foreign vendors.

“When all the private operators are procuring world class 4G equipments from international vendors, why BSNL alone should be compelled to procure equipments from domestic vendors,” P.Abhimanyu, general secretary of BSNLEU said in a release on Thursday. “The Indian vendors do not have proven 4G technology. Further, they do not have the experience of managing large networks.”

-Telecom Talk

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