It looks like BSNL is all over the place at the moment. The telco has been continually writing to government authorities on the problems it is facing for drafting a 4G tender. Now, it has reported that BSNL recently discussed with Vodafone Idea for a potential 4G Intra Circle Roaming agreement. Yes, you heard it right. BSNL is looking to provide 4G services under the newly formed Vi brand. The government earlier asked BSNL to procure local gear for rolling out 4G services. A Technical Committee on September 30 highlighted that BSNL should phase out 2G entirely and roll out complete 4G services in the next two years. BSNL Employee Unions are opposing the technical committee's suggestions by saying the majority of BSNL's customer base is still on 2G network.
BSNL Might Strike an ICR Deal With Vodafone Idea
The report coming from Business Line says BSNL and Vodafone Idea engaged in preliminary talks headed by BSNL CMD PK Purwar. While BSNL asked Vodafone Idea to share its 4G network under Intra Circle Roaming (ICR) agreement, the latter asked for optical fibre connectivity of about 10,000 kms in return. Furthermore, the report adds both BSNL and Vi are currently testing 4G roaming in Rajasthan and one more circle. Nevertheless, BSNL is aiming at an agreement to offer 4G services on Vi network across the country.
For the unaware, Intra Circle Roaming (ICR) agreement allows Vi to share its 4G network with BSNL. This essentially means BSNL customers will able to enjoy high-speed 4G network but on Vodafone Idea's network. BSNL will likely go ahead with this ICR with Vi since the rollout of its own 4G services is delayed.
In other news, the recently appointed Empowered Technology Group (ETG) will start looking at BSNL's much-awaited 4G rollout plans next week. The group is also expected to issue a 4G tender. Just a few hours ago, we reported that the 4G tender from a local vendor is costing at least 83% more than the global vendors. The government had earlier asked BSNL to procure gear from local OEMs for rolling out 4G.