State-owned telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has been planning to roll out its 4G services in pan India for quite some time now. The telco which already has more than ten crore mobile customers and hopes that launch of LTE based 4G services will bolster its offering to customers by allowing them to enjoy faster data speeds and improve the overall user experience. BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava had told PTI in March that the telco is planning to invest Rs 4300 crore for network expansion in FY 2018-2019. The investment of Rs 4,300 crore will go into the mobile network strengthening, and upgrading broadband infrastructure.
Shrivastava added that the government-owned PSU has plans to install 12,000 3G mobile towers and 10,000 4G towers to expand its coverage. This will have a provision for 100% expansion mapped to BSNL’s 4G services roll out and spectrum allocation, he concluded.
The telco currently has 5MHz spectrum in the 2100 MHz band that would be sufficient to get its 4G project rolling initially. BSNL currently offers 2G and 3G mobile services but will need additional 5MHz spectrum in the same band to expand the 4G services across the country.
So what’s the current status of BSNL service in the country?
As of now, BSNL 4G Service has been rolled out in Kerala as part of company’s expansion plans. The company is also testing trail service in Karnataka region, and new 4G towers are being installed in the state.
The first 4G mobile tower of the state-owned operator in Karnataka installed in Shivamogga city was commissioned by Manoj Sinha, Union Minister of State for Communications and Railways. Sinha also informed reporters then that BSNL is upgrading its infrastructure and technology to extend quality service and has plans to install 534 more 4G mobile towers in Karnataka shortly.
Also, BSNL Odisha telecom circle had announced plans to launch 4G services in the region during the April quarter of 2018-19. CGM BSNL Satyananda Nayak told reporters in March that a sum of Rs 198 crore will be spent on the expansion, addition, upgradation for launching 4G services in the Odisha circle. He said old equipment would be replaced by new ones to provide 2G and 4G services in small towns of the state.
BSNL Launches 4G uSim
Just recently BSNL launched 4G uSIM for all its customers who wish to avail 4G services. The new USIM exclusively for the 4G mobile network starts for only Rs 20 and is seen as the biggest plunge to compete with other providers. All customers who want to avail 4G service will need to exchange their current sim cards for 4G uSIM.
However, the company’s 4G expansion plans in India have been forestalled because of a tiff going on in between the state-run telco as well as the government in context to the allocation of the 4G network to the telecom operator.