State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) has completed the trials for its indigenous 4G network as part of the proof of concept with a Tata Consultancy Services-led consortium. The trials were completed in the last week of October in Chandigarh, according to people aware of the matter.
“The company has just completed all the necessary network tests as part of proof-of-concept with a TCS-led consortium, and now it will be decided where it will start rolling out 4G services using indigenous technology stack,” a government official told FE.
The completion of proof-of-concept for the 4G network is a significant development for BSNL, which can now prepare itself to launch the services by January, the official added.
BSNL is expected to deploy the 4G services using indigenous technology stack across 100,000 tower sites in a phased manner.
However, both BSNL and TCS are yet to agree on the pricing and other commercial terms related to the rollout of 4G network, the official said, adding that the discussions are in advanced stages and will be finalised soon. As per the development, while TCS has asked about Rs 21,000 crore for rolling out BSNL’s 4G network, BSNL wants the deal to be done at Rs 16,000 crore.
As part of the network rollout, TCS and the government’s Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) have designed the indigenous 4G stack, whereas Tata Group-owned Tejas Networks will manufacture the equipment required to roll out the network.
In January last year, BSNL invited expressions of interest (EoIs) from the domestic companies to test the quality of their telecom equipment before giving them the tender to roll out 4G network. The company issued the letter of intent to five companies, including TCS, HFCL, Tech Mahindra, L&T, and ITI. However, only TCS conducted the trials.
In July this year, the government had also approved a Rs 1.64-trillion revival package for BSNL in order to make the company financially viable. The revival package included administrative allocation of spectrum to BSNL to provide 4G services, de-stressing of company’s balance sheet, financial support for capital expenditure, and viability gap funding for rural wireline projects, among other things.
In FY22, the company reported a 4% fall in revenue to Rs 16,809 crore, whereas its net loss narrowed to Rs 6,982 crore, compared with Rs 7,441 crore in the preceding financial year.