Tejas Networks Limited, a part of the Tata Group, has received a purchase order (PO) worth Rs 7,492 crore from TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) to supply RAN (radio access network) equipment for 4G/5G rollout in 1,00,000 sites. The company has notified the stock exchanges and said that it received the PO from TCS on August 15, 2023. TCS will act as a systems integrator, while Tejas Networks would be completely producing the equipment for BSNL's homegrown 4G/5G rollout.
In the details of the order, Tejas Networks has mentioned that the PO has to be executed in the years 2023 and 2024. This means that TCS can then take the equipment and roll it out for BSNL in 1 lakh sites in the next 18 to 24 months. The support and maintenance services for the equipment will be for a period of nine years post-warranty period.
This is a big development. The government and the BSNL management have maintained that they will launch homegrown 4G very soon. This order confirms that we can witness a 4G launch from BSNL in the next month or two. Earlier, telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had said that BSNL will start rolling out 4G in 300 sites daily post-September.
Things seem to be on track. The state-run telecom operator has already done a beta launch in Punjab. There are around 200 test sites live through which BSNL and TCS are taking the feedback. BSNL is using homegrown tech that can be upgraded from 4G to 5G with a software push. This will help BSNL in rolling out 5G fast as well.
It will be interesting to see if the state-run telco can capture market share post the launch of 4G. In the current scenario, BSNL is just losing out on subscribers because of offering legacy network services.