BSNL 4G: Rollout delayed as trials pending

BSNL expects 4G rollout within a period of 10 months on successful completion of trials, which means that the rollout is expected to happen by the end of next year. The trials were originally expected to be completed by October 31, 2021.

The free high-speed internet data will be available for a period of 30 days and the beneficiaries have to consume the data within the valid period.
The free high-speed internet data will be available for a period of 30 days and the beneficiaries have to consume the data within the valid period.

The 4G trials of BSNL are expected to be further extended till January 15 as the TCS-led consortium is yet to demonstrate services with 40-watt radio equipment in accordance with the conditions specified in the expression of interest (EoI).

According to sources, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has communicated to BSNL that it will set up 40-watt radios at select sites by December 20 and start trials on them by December 23. Trials on 20-watt radios are successfully on currently.

“It seems that trials may have to be further extended by January 15,” said a source privy to the details.

BSNL had earlier extended the trials by two months, till December 31.

BSNL expects 4G rollout within a period of 10 months on successful completion of trials, which means that the rollout is expected to happen by the end of next year. The trials were originally expected to be completed by October 31, 2021.

The TCS-led consortium is the only candidate currently doing trials at Chandigarh. TCS has partnered with C-DoT for core network and Tejas and Altiostar for radio equipment. Other successful bidders —Tech Mahindra, HFCL and L&T — are not conducting trials due to some issues with their core network partner.

As reported earlier, BSNL has been mandated by the government to utilise ‘domestic core or Indian core’ in its network for expanding 4G services. Accordingly, BSNL floated a tender for procurement of 50,000 sites with local core and letter of intent was issued to five vendors, including TCS, Tech Mahindra, HFCL, L&T and ITI.

The network rollout of BSNL has already been delayed much as an earlier tender for 4G was cancelled in July last year.

The state-run firm has also not been able to upgrade its network at south and west zones as the proposal by BSNL was not cleared at its board meetings in the recent past. The company wanted to upgrade the 2G/3G sites, totaling around 13,533 in south and west zones at a cost of Rs 567.35 crore.

The upgrade would have helped BSNL increase its revenues as south zone alone contributes about 40% to the revenue generated from mobile services.

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