Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is expected to launch 4G in late 2023 or early 2024. The whole issue around Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) not having conducted live network testing of homegrown 4G yet will be resolved in the near future. Tejas Networks, along with several other vendors, are now in the picture to help BSNL with homemade 4G equipment. The story of BSNL's 4G launch would definitely be one that would be talked about for years to come. It is either going to be a hero for the citizens or a complete zero. In case it could fill the gaps left by the private telcos, BSNL could eat up the low-paying customer base of the private telcos.
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That would enable BSNL to scale revenues and increase its average revenue per user (ARPU) per month figure. Because of the absence of 4G and now 5G as well, BSNL is the last-ranked telecom operator in India. The state-run telco could make a huge difference if it can provide 4G in areas of the country where private telcos don't want to invest much. There was a Business Standard report which came out in December 2022 saying that BSNL has decided to prioritise tower installations in 45,180 villages across the country.
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The 4G of BSNL would be a big promise to the rural Indians who are still waiting for a decent network experience. BSNL is using the technology stack for 4G that could also be upgraded to 5G in the near future. Currently, only two Indian telecom operators have launched 5G in India - Airtel and Jio. It is most unlikely that BSNL's 5G will come in 2023 or 2024. But it wouldn't even create a big difference in the life of consumers even if it launches in the near future.
The telcos that have launched 5G would have to keep offering it for a very similar price to 4G or at no additional cost to the 4G consumers. For the next few years, it is 4G that will be the priority of consumers.