BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) is expected to launch its 4G mobile service in Patna by the end of this year, according to Arbind Prasad, the Principal General Manager for the Patna telecom district, said a report from TheHindustanTimes. The advance purchase order for state-of-the-art 4G mobile equipment has already been placed with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), and it is anticipated that the installation of the equipment will take place between September and October. The new 4G hardware will also be upgradeable to 5G through software modifications.
Currently, only 16 small towns in Bihar have partial coverage under the 4G network. However, the plan is to bring all districts under the high-speed 4G network by the end of this year or the first quarter of next year, depending on equipment availability. Around 3,620 4G towers will be installed across the state, with approximately 900 of them located in Patna alone.
To enhance internet connectivity for BSNL users, 211 new towers will be erected in various locations throughout the capital city. These sites are currently being finalised, and the 4G equipment will be installed on about 600 existing 3G towers. BSNL currently has around 57.75 lakh mobile subscribers in Bihar (Jharkhand), while competitors like Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, and Vodafone Idea have larger customer bases in the region.
Although the Union telecom minister announced plans to launch 5G services in 2023, officials indicate that the procurement process for 4G equipment has caused delays, making it unlikely for BSNL to meet the initial timeline for 5G implementation. Regardless, the technology that BSNL is going to use for its 4G is homegrown and can be upgraded to 5G at a later date, as and when a need arises through a simple software push. It is going to help BSNL retain subscribers and revenue market share in the Indian telecom industry.