Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is pushing hard to roll out 4G in India. The state-run telco already has several 4G sites in many prominent cities as well as tier-2 and tier-3 cities of the country. But the pan-India rollout of 4G services will require a lot of resources and upgradation of more than 1,00,000 sites which also includes sites of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL).
BSNL’s 4G rollout will be a boon for India because it will dilute the competition in the telecom industry. Currently, the real competition is between Airtel and Jio, while Vodafone Idea (Vi) is trying to recover from its critical financial condition.
BSNL Will Increase Connectivity in Rural Parts of India
One great thing that BSNL is expected to follow up with is providing efficient network services in rural or remote parts of India. Jio is already eyeing to do that, and Airtel is also starting to go the same route. However, BSNL already has numerous sites present in the rural parts of the country.
All that the telco needs to do is upgrade those sites to 4G. Once done, it can build an impressive network of 4G all across the country. Because of BSNL’s attractive pricing, several users would be compelled to try out its offerings.
BSNL Hybrid 4G Plans
For rolling out 4G fast so that it can survive, BSNL is eyeing for an hybrid 4G rollout. It has communicated the same with the government and also received nods from the ETG and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
Under the hybrid 4G plan, BSNL plans to divide the tender into two parts. One part will reserve 50,000 sites for the Indian vendors, and the remaining 57,000 sites will be offered to global telecom vendors such as Ericsson, Nokia, and more.
Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE are expected to be excluded because of the ‘trusted’ list policy that the government has introduced. The trusted list is not yet finalised, but it has been made very clear by the Indian government that it doesn’t want Chinese companies on its mobile networks anymore.
BSNL’s 4G can change the Indian telecom industry for good. The telco just needs to ensure that it rolls out 4G as fast as possible. Even though the private operators are eyeing for 5G, 4G will still be relevant 4 years down the line. This would allow BSNL to capitalise on the 4G market if it can roll out services fast.
One thing that BSNL will have to ensure is providing a high-quality network experience to the users. If it can do that, it will produce very stiff competition for Airtel and Jio.