Although there is no update on the BSNL pan-India 4G launch, the state-owned telecom operator expects to bring 5G services next year. BSNL is ready to upgrade 1.35 lakh 4G telecom towers in the next five to seven months to offer 5G services in the country, Union Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said at a CII event.
He said that the telecom operator has about 1,35,000 mobile towers in the country and a strong presence in rural areas. In addition, the ministry has also requested TCS to help the telecom operator with 5G equipment for testing. The government also agreed to BSNL’s plan to provide a 4G network deal to the same company.
Under the 4G network agreement, TCS will establish 4G sites and maintain them for nine years. Furthermore, the minister shared that the government is also planning to increase the telecom technology development fund to Rs. 4,000 crore of Rs. Rs 500 crore to promote innovations in the sector.
BSNL wants dual spectrum for 5G services
Meanwhile, the telecom operator has requested the Telecommunications Department to allocate more spectrum for 5G spectrum. In addition, the company wants frequency in the 700 MHz band, the most premium or expensive spectrum band of all.
For the uninitiated, the government has reserved some 5G spectrum for the state telecom operator in the recently concluded auction. However, the company demands spectrum in the 700 MHz band, despite having bands in the 600 MHz, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz service areas, according to State Minister for Telecommunications Devusinh Chauhan.
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Apart from that, the telecom minister informed parliament that India’s largest telecom player Reliance Jio has already expanded its 5G services to 50 cities in just two months. On the other hand, Airtel offers its 5G services in only 12 cities including some airports in India.
He also informed that both telecom operators are providing 5G services without any additional cost and the expansion of services depends on the telecom companies.
It is worth noting that BSNL is striving to start 4G services in the country; however, it is still unsuccessful after so many attempts. Now the government wants the telecom operator to upgrade existing 4G towers to 5G in the next five to seven months, which again seems difficult as the company has not shared the exact date of 4G services.
On the other hand, Reliance Jio and Airtel are in expansion mode and are expected to capture the entire 5G market. Also, India’s third largest telecom operator Vodafone-Idea is likely to bring its 5G services in 2023; however, it will be interesting to see how BSNL will compete against these private players.
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