Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is working hard to ensure that its 4G networks are live as soon as possible. But the telco’s plans for 4G haven’t come without obstructions or challenges. The state-run operator believes that it can roll out live 4G networks in two zones of India, including the South and the West zone, in three to four months. As per a Financial Express report, all that the company needs is a nod from the government, but that isn’t likely to come because of the security concerns that will arise.
BSNL Network Can’t Be Upgraded Because of ZTE
For the unaware, the mobile networks of BSNL are primarily built by two vendors across the nation - ZTE and Nokia. The government is worried about upgrading the ZTE rolled out legacy networks to 4G because it would raise security concerns for the Indians connected to those networks.
Since ZTE is a Chinese company and has not registered with the competent authorities, BSNL can’t get permission to order upgradation of its equipment.
PK Purwar, CMD, BSNL, wrote to the telecom secretary requesting his support with getting the government’s approval for the upgradation request. In his letter that was obtained by FE, Purwar has explained that going with this simple upgradation process, BSNL can save hundreds of crores in capex for rolling out 4G services. Further, it won’t even take much time and would be done in about three to four months which can prove to be the deal-breaker for the telco’s future in India.
The government, on the other hand, doesn’t want a Chinese presence on its networks. It is understandable, but this puts BSNL in a very grim situation, and it can do nothing but hope that it will get the support of the government on every decision it is making. It is worth noting that South Zone is one of the biggest contributors to revenue for BSNL’s mobile services.