Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has awarded Skipper a Rs 2570 crore worth project. Skipper is one of the leading manufacturers for transmission and distribution structures along with manufacturer of telecom and railway structures. Skipper will help BSNL with rolling out homegrown 4G networks. The order that has been awarded by BSNL is for supply and erection of ground based telecom towers, infrastructure as a service provider (IaaSP) for supply, installation of infrastructure items and subsequent O&M for 5 years. Skipper said that the project can be extended to another 5 years in the uncovered villages of India under the 4G saturation projects.
Skipper said that the total contract value is of approximately Rs 2,570 crores which is to be executed under capex and opex model over 5 years. The work will take place in the states of Rajasthan and Orissa. For Rajasthan, the project is worth around Rs 1350 crore and Orissa 1220 crore. The total tower location sites included under this project is 3350.
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These tower sites are being set up for 4G as a part of the 4G saturation projects in the parts of India which are still not covered with any sort of mobile communication networks or just have 2G or 3G networks.
BSNL will be using the local 4G stack to rollout 4G in India. Skipper said that this project would be funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), which is a Rs 55,000 crore strong cash reserve meant to offer mobile connectivity services in rural and remote areas.
BSNL is expected to rollout 4G for consumers in India starting January 2023. The state run telecom operator is going to be able to add new subscribers if it could launch 4G soon. Further, in the year ahead, the telco is expected to launch 5G. As per union telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, BSNL could launch 5G in 7 months after launching 4G.