Govt delays: BSNL hopes hybrid 4G tender will help

By: |
March 16, 2021 5:30 AM

The first option suggests a two-part tender in which the expressions of interest (EoIs) for Part A comprising 50,000 sites should be reserved for Indian vendors, who should build the core of the network under a system integrated model.

BSNL has said that as per an EoI floated by it, firms need to complete the trials in 4 months, but except TCS most firms have sought for extension of the time frame to 6-8 months.BSNL has said that as per an EoI floated by it, firms need to complete the trials in 4 months, but except TCS most firms have sought for extension of the time frame to 6-8 months.

To give a push to its 4G tender, which has been stuck for a year now, state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) has suggested two options to the government. Both the options call for splitting the tender into two parts, albeit with some difference.

The first option suggests a two-part tender in which the expressions of interest (EoIs) for Part A comprising 50,000 sites should be reserved for Indian vendors, who should build the core of the network under a system integrated model.

It said, in parallel, BSNL be allowed to float another tender, Part B, for the remaining 50,000 sites, like the usual tender where global companies like Nokia, Ericsson and others can participate.

It has further suggested that by the time of the technical evaluation of the Part B tender if any of the Indian vendor is able to complete successfully trials of its technology (proof of concept), they can also participate in it.

The second option also calls for a splitting the tender into two parts but with a difference. Here of the total five zones, the company should be allowed to float tenders as per usual norms for four zones and reserve one zone for Indian companies. It has suggested that the first option is a better one as it would offer domestic manufacturers larger quantum of procurement.

The company has communicated to the government that its survival depends on early rollout of 4G services and so far there’s no proven Indian core available. It has said that it apprehends that barring TCS, which has tied up with C-DoT to develop a core, others may not be successful. Even if domestic vendors are successful in trial runs, they would take further time to produce requisite quantities, which would further delay the rollout of its 4G services.

BSNL has said that as per an EoI floated by it, firms need to complete the trials in 4 months, but except TCS most firms have sought for extension of the time frame to 6-8 months.

BSNL expects 4G rollout within a period of 10 months on successful completion of trials by local firms. Assuming that the proof of concept (PoC) is successfully completed in four months, the network can be rolled out after 14 months from that date. But, in case PoC is not completed within the specified timelines, the rollout timelines may also get extended.

The problem for BSNL arose as a government-appointed committee recommended that the core of the 4G network should be built by domestic vendors under a system integrator model and not by global firms like Ericsson or Nokia. Further, the IPR or licence/copyright for the source code of the software should be owned by an Indian company and it must have unrestricted, irrevocable access and licence to modify the source code and provide software support for all future versions of the software. The source code should be deposited in an escrow account and should be the same as the version deployed in the field.

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