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Nokia joins the race with TCS for BSNL’s Rs 15000 crore 4G project

BSNL has been given the mandate to roll out its 4G network from November, and gradually upgrade its network to 5G by August 15, 2023. The PSU plans to install 125,000 4G mobile sites over the next 18 months.

“The minister has given us a clear path that August 15, 2023 should be the date when BSNL should be in the 5G domain. We are working in that direction which we have received. We should be able to meet it (the target timeline),” PK Purwar, CMD, BSNL said at IMC 2022.

It was expected till Tuesday that BSNL would close the deal with TCS for 4G core and O-RAN. This equipment would be upgraded for the 5G roll-out with necessary software modifications. TCS has collaborated with C-DoT to develop the core. The estimated value of the order is Rs 15000 crore.

However, now Nokia too has shown interest. The vendor had set up BSNL’s network in west and south India. Sanjay Malik has expressed interest that the company set up 4G services for BSNL company in a record period of 3-4 months using equipment made at its factory in Chennai.

Backgrounder TCS. Tata Sons had way back in July 2021 had taken the plunge to create a full stack of wireline and wireless products. The company’s subsidiary, Panatone Finvest Limited had picked up a 43.3 per cent stake in Tejas Networks for ₹1,850 crore. Tejas Networks armed the Tata company with networking products for telcos, internet service providers, utilities, defence and government entities.

The company then acquired 64.4 percent of shares of Saankhya Labs in March 2022 and the remaining balance of 93,571 equity shares in August 2022. Saankhya has a wide range of system and semiconductor products for cellular wireless, broadcast radios and satellite communication ground-terminal, which are deployed by customers in India and in international markets. With a rich IPR portfolio and 73 international patents (41 granted, 32 filed), Saankhya is a pioneer in building software defined radios (SDR), powered by its own SDR chipsets. Saankhya has a strong technology team of more than 250 engineers, with deep expertise in wireless communication systems and fabless-semiconductor design.

Recently, TCS created two telecom business units, with N Ganpathy Subramaniam at the helm.

NSS is a network solutions and services unit to cater to 5G rollout and engineering solutions. Vimal Kumar, Vice President & Global Head Networks Business, a Harvard Business School alumni and a Tata veteran is at the helm.

CEN, a cognitive enterprise network unit offers intelligent network management. It is headed by Sai Pitta, who is responsible to lay out vision, strategy and build business around Enterprise Networks transformation. Pitta too is a Tata veteran, having been with the group for 29 years, and is an IIT Madras alum.

CT Bureau

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