Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) will take its sweet time to roll out homegrown 4G in India. The state-run telecom company is taking the help of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) to roll out 4G. However, the launch, which was expected to take place in early 2023, will now be pushed to the second half of 2023. This has been confirmed by BSNL itself. The reason why there's a delay in the launch is that TCS has not even started field trials in live conditions. TCS was supposed to supply and launch a pilot network of 200 sites, but that seems to be far away at the moment because the equipment/solutions that BSNL was supposed to use are still in the testing phase.
Back in October 2022, the Indian government announced that it plans to install 25,000 4G towers in the next 500 days with BSNL. However, that seems to be difficult now. The launch of 4G from BSNL is not going to happen any time soon. BSNL was supposed to upgrade over 1 lakh sites across the nation to 4G. That goal would take years now because the equipment is yet to get the green signal from the approval committee.
According to a report from the HinduBusinessLine, sources aware of the development said that the field trials by TCS are yet to start. Further, the goal to start upgrading sites to 4G is not going to happen before September 2023. The tender timeline says that the project has to be completed within 24 months from the day of the first connectivity services, which is now expected to go till the end of 2025.
BSNL is Just Providing a Boost to Private Telcos for Years
BSNL has been providing a boost to private telecom companies for years now. The more its 4G network services are delayed, the more private telecom companies will benefit. BSNL has also officially confirmed that its 4G network services will be launched in the second half of 2023. With the kind of delays that we have seen with BSNL so far, one can't be sure of the promise of timelines from BSNL. So, the project could be well delayed into 2024 as well.
What would be funny is that by 2024, the private telecom companies would have majorly rolled out 5G to most parts of the country. Many users would start switching to 5G from 4G. At that point, BSNL would be embarrassingly trying to launch 4G for consumers.