Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has sought for 5G spectrum from the government. The state-run telco is yet to launch 4G networks but is already requesting 70 MHz of 5G spectrum from the government. According to a FinancialExpress report, PK Purwar, CMD of BSNL has written to the govt for reserving 70 MHz of airwaves in the 3300 MHz – 3670 MHz band for BSNL’s 5G.
Note that this is more than what the Digital Communications Commission (DCC) had recommended. As per DCC recommendations, govt needs to give BSNL 40 MHz of airwaves for 5G while the state-run telco is looking for 70 MHz. The DCC had also suggested that BSNL should get airwaves in the 600 MHz band as well as the 400 MHz in the mmWave bands.
Cabinet’s Call Will be Final for BSNL
According to the publication’s report, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is likely to put this request forward to the Cabinet which will then take the final call on what needs to happen. The Cabinet is still deliberating on the final decisions around the 5G spectrum auction that is supposed to happen later this summer.
BSNL is still prepping for launching 4G networks across the nation. As per the CMD of the telco, a short-scale launch of 4G networks will take place by August 2022. But by December 2022, BSNL will launch its 4G networks in multiple parts of the country in a large-scale manner.
If the government reserves the spectrum for BSNL, the state-run telco won’t need to participate in the upcoming 5G spectrum auction. BSNL will only need to pay for the 5G spectrum at the auction set price when it wants to start offering 5G network services. The launch of 4G has been delayed by more than two years now, hopefully, that isn’t the case with BSNL’s 5G.
BSNL is expected to launch 5G services in India by 2023.