BSNL 4G: Government Disapproves Network Core Equipment from Foreign Vendors

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Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has not been able to launch 4G services throughout India because of the restrictions that it had to face last year. The state-run telco had to scrap its 4G tender since objections were raised against the telco getting its core network equipment from foreign vendors. BSNL was then asked to purchase equipment from Indian vendors. Now, the Ministry of Communications (MoC), which was earlier in support of the telco, has turned down its request of sourcing core network equipment from foreign vendors such as Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung.

BSNL 4G Deployment Delay Continues

The state-run telco had requested to use foreign vendors' equipment, citing reliability issues with the products provided by the Indian companies. BSNL wanted network equipment that was already proven, and Nokia, Ericsson, and Samsung can all provide that.

But according to an ET Telecom report, a powerful cabinet minister busy with the election work in West Bengal has turned down the suggestion made by the ministry, which was earlier in support of BSNL’s decision to add a foreign vendor into the mix who can provide proven technology for the network.

BSNL had said that a time period of four months that includes time taken for installation and setup of the equipment as too short for the Indian companies to generate proof of concept (PoC) for its network.

Further, the state-run telco had said that the Indian companies aren’t ready to provide a complete ecosystem of equipment for the network right away. It might take the Indian companies until the second-half of 2022 to become ready, which would be a huge delay.

BSNL has communicated that it wants the PoC to be limited to a single region only against the four operational zones for saving a lot of valuable time. The state-run telco is looking to update 57,000 sites and has asked the Indian companies to submit proposals for the same through an Expression of Interest (EoI) for PoC.

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