In a written response to a question posed in the Rajya Sabha, the Minister of State for Communications, Shri Devusinh Chauhan, provided an update on the progress being made toward the launch of BSNL’s 4G services across the country.
According to the information he provided, BSNL has been instructed to deploy the Indian 4G stack in accordance with the Atma-nirbhar Bharat initiative that the government is pursuing.
As a result, the BSNL began accepting expressions of interest (EOI) on January 1, 2021 for the Proof of Concept (PoC). The proof of concept has been finished, and there are only a few outstanding points.
The initial purchase order for 6,000 4G roll-out locations was issued by BSNL on 31-03-2022, and another purchase order for 6,000 4G roll-out locations was issued on 25-07-2022. After that, in October 2022, BSNL issued a request for proposals (RFP) to fulfil its requirement of one lakh 4G sites.
The revival plan for BSNL and MTNL was approved by the Government of India on the 23rd of October, 2019. It approved, among other things, the reduction of employee costs through a programme known as the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS), the restructuring of debt through the raising of sovereign guarantee bonds, the administrative allotment of spectrum for 4G services through capital infusion, the monetization of core and non-core assets, and in-principal approval for the merger of BSNL and MTNL.
Since the beginning of the 2020-21 fiscal year, BSNL has been able to post positive EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization).
The government subsequently approved a revival package for BSNL on July 27, 2022, with a total estimated value of 1.64 lakh crores. This was done with the goal of making BSNL a successful public sector organisation. Spectrum will be assigned, BSNL’s services will be improved, its balance sheet will be de-stressed, and its fibre network will be extended. These are the main areas on which the government’s revitalization efforts have been concentrated.
I’d like to begin by clarifying why BSNL is unable to introduce 4G services, and the answer is that there are a number of different factors at play. First off, the company lacks the necessary spectrum to roll out 4G services in the nation. In addition, the business lacks the capital funding necessary for the launch of 4G services. Furthermore, BSNL currently lacks the necessary funding to develop the infrastructure needed for 4G services. Additionally, the company is experiencing a financial crisis, which prevents it from making investments in 4G services. Last but not least, BSNL has struggled to keep up with both the rapid technological advancements and the expansion of its rivals. All of these issues have made it more difficult for BSNL to introduce 4G services.
In any case, it’s a long story that BSNL has been desiring/longing to roll out its 4G services throughout India. After much anticipation, the company just revealed that its 4G services will be trial-run in 10 regional circles. Customers in Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, UP East, and UP West should be able to access the services. Additionally, BSNL has stated that it intends to invest close to Rs. 8,000 crore over the following three years in order to upgrade its network and expand its 4G services. The company also has plans to soon begin offering 4G services in the remaining regional circles.
Nevertheless, there are currently no deadlines or dates that have been established for when exactly BSNL will begin offering 4G services across the entirety of India.
According to recent reports in the media, BSNL is planning to begin offering 5G services in August of 2023. Nevertheless, the Minister has confirmed that they are still having difficulties with the implementation of 4G. This is the official status. What an interesting dichotomy.
The loyal BSNL consumers having long pending demand for 4G and 5G services. Eagerly awaiting. Please expedite.