4G trials: BSNL objects to deviations proposed by TCS

By: |
August 09, 2021 6:15 AM

According to BSNL, the deviations proposed by TCS include a few critical issues and cannot be compromised for testing of the equipment being proposed under proof of concept (PoC) or trials as the same equipment has to be deployed in 4G commercial network immediately after the trials.

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A Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)-led consortium selected by BSNL to do trials for testing their 4G equipment, has proposed 128 deviations in product specifications, which the state-run telco thinks, if accepted, could jeopardise its business prospects and impact customer experience.

BSNL has written to the department of telecommunications seeking to know whether to accept the deviations or not.

According to BSNL, the deviations proposed by TCS include a few critical issues and cannot be compromised for testing of the equipment being proposed under proof of concept (PoC) or trials as the same equipment has to be deployed in 4G commercial network immediately after the trials.

But as BSNL on its own can’t reject or accept the deviations, it has asked DoT for guidance. “According to this office, acceptance of such deviations will cost BSNL in future once the rollout happens and it will not only jeopardise the interests of BSNL’s business prospects but also adversely impact the customer experience as well as BSNL’s competitive strength,” BSNL CMD PK Purwar has said in a letter to telecom secretary Anshu Prakash, a copy of which has been seen by FE.

The CMD said in such a situation, the financial position of BSNL may further deteriorate and the objective framed by the government under the revival plan may not be achieved fully.
TCS has proposed 18 deviations in core, 71 in radio network, 6 in interworking, 13 in deferred core and 20 in deferred radio network.

It must be mentioned that the TCS-led consortium is the most promising candidate to develop the 4G solution to rollout BSNL’s indigenous network. TCS has partnered with C-DoT for core network and Tejas and Altiostar for radio equipment and will conduct the trials at Chandigarh. Tech Mahindra, HFCL, L&T and ITI have also been selected to do trials.

Trials are necessary because BSNL has been mandated to use equipment from local firms only for its core network as part of what is called a system integrator-led model.

BSNL said as other bidders have not submitted any deviation statement, it is assumed their product meets specifications and is ready for commercial deployment. “It is earnestly requested that the deviations submitted by TCS may be deliberated upon by DoT and suitable advice/guidance be provided to BSNL so as to enable BSNL to accomplish the PoC in a time-bound manner,” the letter said.

BSNL expects 4G rollout within a period of 10 months on successful completion of trials. Assuming that trials are successfully completed in four months, the network can be rolled out after 14 months from that date. But, in case the trials are not completed within the specified timelines, then rollout timelines may also get extended.

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