State-run telecom service provider, BSNL, has been struggling a lot these days due to the lack of 4G services. Rivals and private telecom operators are providing 4G services to the customers and aggressively investing a lot to increase the overall 4G footprint. But BSNL is not getting any required support from the government, even right now. According to our sources, BSNL is deploying a total of 8,500 eNode-Bs [ 4G sites] across the 20 telecom circles where it has operations. In Mumbai and Delhi circles, MTNL has operations and the rest 20 circles are handled by BSNL for telecom services. Also, by deploying the 4G sites, BSNL will selectively discontinue the 3G services in the areas where it has selected for 4G launch. We already know that BSNL has 4G services in various circles like Kerala, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana and so on, but the telco is working hard to improve the 4G coverage.
BSNL Customers Required to Upgrade to 4G SIM Card
Right now, our sources indicate that BSNL is deploying a total of 8,500 4G sites in the country. As you might be aware of, BSNL does not have any spectrum for 4G services, but the company is deploying 4G sites by 'selectively discontinuing' the 3G services. Now, what doe that 'selectively discontinuing' mean? Well, unlike Airtel which is aggressively phasing out 3G network to become an LTE-only operator, BSNL will phase out 3G network only in the areas where the usage is minimal. As mentioned above, BSNL is selecting areas for launching 4G sites and those areas are selected based on the minimal 3G footprint.
And in the areas where BSNL launches 4G services, customers will have to upgrade to a 4G-enabled SIM card. In some areas, BSNL is selling a 4G USIM card at Rs 20, and in some areas, it's providing 4G SIM card at no extra cost along with free 4G data as a promotional offer.
Also, our sources indicate that the company has managed to deploy nearly 7,000 4G sites, out of the planned 8,500 4G enabled towers.
BSNL 4G: Which Areas Currently Has the Fourth Generation Network?
BSNL has been providing 4G services to customers in various circles. In Maharashtra circle, BSNL 4G is available across 13 districts with 1100 4G towers mainly in Marathwada and Vidarbha region. Other districts include Bhandara, Gondia, Yeotmal, Akola, Washim, Nanded, Jalna, Buldhana, Latur, Parbhani, Hingoli, Beed and Osmanabad. In the said circles, BSNL 4G services were launched between October 2018 and March 2019. Also, we can confirm that more than 100,000 customers in Maharashtra are using BSNL 4G services.
Furthermore, we have already reported that BSNL 4G is now live across 25 towns in Telangana state and more than 800 towers are installed in Andhra Pradesh state as well. BSNL Kerala customers have been using 4G services for more than a one and a half year now and they are experiencing speeds of above 15 Mbps. Kerala is the major telecom circle for BSNL with an overall subscriber base of around 12 million. Also, in Kerala, some of the popular BSNL prepaid plans like Rs 1,098 offer different benefits compared to other telcos.