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TCS seeks hike in costs for BSNL 4G gear

India’s largest IT companies supplier has sought a hike in costs for the community gear it has to provide to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) for a few of its 6,000 websites as a part of the state-run telco’s 4G roll out plans.

Queries to TCS and BSNL did not elicit any response.

On March 31, BSNL released a purchase order to procure network equipment for 6,000 sites at a cost of Rs 560 crore, which according to sources, was 56% lesser than the price point of phase VIII expansion offered to Finnish multinational Nokia in 2018.

Earlier this month, TCS approached BSNL and sought a hike in the network equipment supply prices in line with the increase in component pricing due to supply chain constraints, escalated labour wages, and continued rupee volatility against the US dollar.

But despite disagreements over pricing, TCS had conducted a final trial in Jaipur using 850 MHz frequency band on Monday and is readying for a “limited launch” of BSNL’s 5G services for August 15, the person said.

Industry executives said BSNL’s approach discourages vendors, particularly homegrown companies who have invested in R&D activities but are offered unviable price points that have led to the cancellation of nearly 20 tenders during the last three years.

In January last year, BSNL had released a detailed notice inviting e-tender for planning, testing, deployment and annual maintenance of its much-awaited 4G network across four operational zones in addition to Delhi and Mumbai circles for 57,000 sites on a turnkey basis, and sought proof of concept for Indian companies and consortiums willing to participate in its upcoming 4G tender, in order to test their network quality.

The public sector telco is also planning to procure network gear for another 50,000 sites, and is expecting its revenue to rise by almost 20% after a full-fledged next generation services foray in 2023-24. Techy Job

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