Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has “initiated discussions” with other telecom operators for launching 4G services across the country. The development was shared by Sanchar Nigam Executives Association (SNEA) on Tuesday as SNEA shared the highlights of its meeting with P K Purwar, CMD of BSNL. SNEA is said to be the largest and recognised executive association in BSNL with more than 12,000 members. The members of the SNEA and Purwar were said to have had a meeting on Monday on multiple issues including the launch of BSNL 4G services.
BSNL 4G Delayed Could Witness One Year Delay
It was said that the new BSNL 4G tender for the procurement of 4G equipment and the launch of the BSNL 4G services may be delayed by more than one year.
It has to be noted that BSNL in early 2020 had issued a tender that required the vendors to deal with the “planning, engineering, supply, installation, testing, commissioning & annual maintenance of 4G mobile network.” The operator had estimated that the winners of the tender would deal with 50,000 sites of BSNL and 7000 sites of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) in Delhi and Mumbai circles. The tender was scheduled to be opened in late June following multiple delays in the prior weeks. However, the escalated confrontation between the Chinese soldiers and the Indian soldiers in mid June had resulted in the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) placing restrictions on BSNL from sourcing telecom gear from Chinese vendors.
Niti Aayog, the Indian government’s policy think tank is said to have suggested BSNL to go for indigenously designed, developed and manufactured products for its 4G network. The DoT in late June set up a committee “for recommending technical specifications” for BSNL 4G tender.
The SNEA on Tuesday highlighted that the committee constituted by the government has “almost finalised the report” and that the “committee may recommend” the BSNL to opt for “indigenous core equipments.”
“The unfortunate part is that no one came forward with a proven technology for core equipments so far,” SNEA said. “The equipments are to be tested, go for proof of concept and then instalment. This all indicates that new tender may take place after one to 1. 5 years.”
BSNL in Talks with Other Telecom Operators for 4G Services
With BSNL facing delays over 4G services, the SNEA is said to have suggested the operator opt for roaming agreement with other operators and launch the services by becoming a virtual network operator. The SNEA is also said to have suggested BSNL management to consider spectrum sharing with other telecom carriers.
“Management already initiated discussions with other operators, CMD informed us,” the SNEA said on Tuesday. “It is a matter of great pride for SNEA, our suggestion for 4G launch got the attention of BSNL management and started acting on it.”