Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) can’t straight away jump to 5G. There’s a solid reason behind it. That reason is the absence of 4G networks. Since the telco doesn’t have live 4G networks around the country, it will have no other option than considering 5G Standalone (SA) network core architecture. To many, this will sound very simple! Many would just say that if BSNL can leverage 5G SA to get ahead of the private operators, including Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone Idea, it should do that. But things become interesting when one understands that there aren’t many use cases of 5G SA that make it very much better than the 5G NSA.
BSNL Needs 4G Core for 5G NSA
Most of the telecom operators around the world will look to go for 5G NSA. For the unaware, 5G NSA utilises the 4G core meaning operators can rollout 5G networks and services with their existing 4G networks using the Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) technology.
But, since BSNL doesn’t have 4G networks, it can’t go the 5G NSA route. The 5G SA route, on the other hand, is very expensive. In India, every operator is expected to follow up to 5G with the NSA technology. This is because it will be less expensive and will have almost the same use cases of 5G SA networks.
BSNL would want to roll out 4G services as fast as possible, but time and again, the telco has got something in its way to do that. If there’s one thing that is clear, it is that BSNL won’t go for the 5G SA networks. The state-run telecom operator neither has the money nor would it try to go for 5G SA when it doesn’t really have any need.
BSNL can still make a difference in India if it ensures that its 4G networks are released on time and are also consistent. This will help the telco in the long run. Not jumping to 5G straight away with a 5G SA core is the right thing to do.