BSNL’s Commercial 4G Network Is To Be Rolled Out By TCS & ITI

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has invited bids for the rollout of its commercial fourth-generation or 4G network. TCS and ITI Limited have submitted bids.

As a result of the proof-of-concept conducted in Bengaluru-based ITI proposed using TCS-led telecom equipment.

According to Business Standard, officials of the state-owned telecom firm have confirmed that TCS and ITI have submitted their bids and that the process is likely to be completed within 15-30 days.

Although both companies have placed their bids, TCS is the front runner with a deal size of Rs 16,000 – 20,000 crore, said sources in the know.

The daily cited another source as saying, “TCS is clearly in the lead because of the consortium it has created. It can now provide both network equipment and solutions to BSNL.” Sources at BSNL revealed that would have had to source equipment from TCS.

TCS has formed a consortium with the help of the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) and a Tata group subsidiary Tejas.

“TCS has conducted the proof of concept for BSNL and the results are successful. The stalemate was on the size of the deal. Hence, bids have been submitted,” another source told the business daily.

The source further disclosed that the project got delayed by six to eight months because of the lack of consensus on the size of the deal. “The successful bidder has been asked to roll out services by the end of February next year,” the daily quoted the source as saying

BSNL is likely to start rolling out 4G network from November onwards and steadily upgrade it to 5G by August 2023. Earlier, BSNL chairman and managing director PK Purwar mentioned at India Mobile Congress that the telco is on its way to deploying 5G as per the deadline of August 15, 2023, set by Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnav.

The beleaguered telco will be installing 125,000 4G towers. Of these, roughly 100,000 towers will be installed by TCS. TCS eventually will get the approval to install all the towers.

BSNL will use 4G core, developed indigenously for the first time by C-DOT. The core domain carries out the vital functions of the mobile network, including connectivity and mobility management, authentication and authorisation, customer data management and policy management, among others.

BSNL will be provided with a made-in-India 5G radio access network (RAN) by the consortium. With RAN, network equipment parts can be disaggregated, and telcos can acquire hardware and software from different vendors for network deployment.

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May 13, 2021