- The Idukki district in Kerala and Gandhidham in Gujarat were under pilot testing for BSNL 4G
- The telco was offering 2GB bonus data for upgradation to BSNL 4G SIM
Out of all the telecom operators in the Indian telecom space, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is the only operator which has been lagging massively in 4G connectivity and coverage. While the rest of the telcos moved pretty quickly to the 4G network and gave high-speed internet services to their customers, BSNL was still stuck with its 3G network. As a result of this, the telco witnessed an erosion of revenues, dwindling margins and also slipped into a pit of widening losses. In Tutela’s report of State of Mobile Networks February 2019, the agency published data about the network and connectivity of BSNL’s and other operators’ 4G network. Here we take a look at the span of BSNL’s connectivity, the regions which telco has connected with 4G and the places where it is working on to establish further connectivity.
Allocation of Spectrum to BSNL in 2,100MHz Band
To recall, way back in December 2017 reports had surfaced which highlighted that BSNL’s 4G services would first be launched in Chennai circle and that the telco had allotted 288 4G towers, 468 3G towers and 365 2G towers in the city for the rollout of the service. However, the launch of the 4G network was further delayed. Another report surfaced in June 2018, when BSNL announced an expansion in Karnataka with massive deployment in the state. During that time, BSNL had announced setting up of 30,000 4G towers in the country, with 10,000 being set up in Karnataka alone.
Later came the news of news of allocation of the 2,100 MHz spectrum to the government led telecom operator as it received the nod from the cabinet. The use of five additional units on the 2,100MHz spectrum gave a boost to BSNL’s 4G connectivity which was being relayed using 3G airwaves previously. With the use of this spectrum, BSNL could also now practise better airwaves utilisation by offering spectrum contiguity.
Regions of 4G Connectivity for BSNL
While taking a look at the State of Mobile Networks report February 2019, we got to know the scale at which BSNL is using the 3G network for its connectivity. The telco heavily relies on 3G connectivity rather than 4G connectivity. However, with that being said, the map of connectivity for BSNL does not lack 4G sites. There are some spots across India where we were able to spot 4G zones where BSNL has started its services. The report showed that BSNL had a 4G presence in very tiny circles in a few cities of Chhattisgarh, regions near Nagpur, Gujarat, regions near Pune and central Maharashtra, some areas in Kerala with good 4G connectivity and a few sites in Odisha, Bihar, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. As for upcoming regions with 4G connectivity, BSNL has hinted about setting up of towers in Vijayawada and Bhiwapur
These locations also seem consistent with the previous announcements of BSNL where the telco had highlighted that it would start its services in Gujarat and Idukki district of Kerala after a round of pilot testing. In the report by Tutela, BSNL’s 4G download speed stood at 6.8 Mbps, which is the second best on the list after Airtel and its 3G speed was the best among the lot, pegged at 3.3 Mbps.
Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.