State-owned operators BSNL and MTNL have received 529.3billion rupees (about US$6.4 billion) budget for infrastructure installation and upgrades from the Indian government. This money will fund new towers, upgrading of existing towers to 4G and 5G and a revamp of landline systems.
The funding for BSNL is a component of a rehabilitation plan that totaled a staggering 1.640 trillion rupees (just under $20 billion) and was unveiled in July of last year.
According to The Economic Times news service, the BSNL 4G network’s indigenous telecom stack setup has undergone testing, and the company expects to roll out its 4G mobile services soon. This month will see the beginning of live network testing for locally designed 4G solutions.
The notion of locally developed solutions is extremely essential. As they reported at the time, BSNL was forced to suspend a 4G equipment tender in 2020 as a result of restrictive requirements for domestic companies. Now, it is limited to using only domestically produced equipment.
The government’s ambitions to establish high-speed broadband connections in every village within a year include using BSNL’s 4G services, which are seen as a key component. Mobile connectivity will be complimented by the BharatNet fiber optic network programme.
This investment, however it comes at a time when many private firms have already launched 5G services in various cities throughout India, could be considered as a statement of confidence in BSNL despite its massive ongoing debts. How the funds will be divided between the larger BSNL and the smaller MTNL is unclear.
However, there is a problem with the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)-Centre For Development Of Telematics (C-DOT) partnership, which is in charge of implementing BSNL’s 4G network, which will eventually be upgraded to 5G – preferably around a year after the order was placed under the contract.
Nevertheless, the Hindu newspaper claimed in mid-January that no work was being done to build 4G towers for the BSNL network, making the government’s goal of constructing 25,000 towers in 500 days—an objective declared in October—difficult to achieve. Additionally, the consortium had not yet begun field trials at the time.