Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has started the process of launching 4G services across the country, with the State-owned telecom operator inviting Expression of Interest (EoIs) to ascertain eligibility of the bidders. The successful bidders will be eligible to participate in the 4G tender.

According to the EoI dated January 1, BSNL has invited proposals for prior registration and submitting Proof of Concepts (PoC) from Indian companies interested in its 4G tender. The tender is to plan, test, commission and maintain 57,000 sites across all its zones (east, west, north and south), according to the notice.

Out of the 57,000 sites, a total of 50,000 is planned for BSNL and the remaining 7,000 is set for Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd’s (MTNL) Delhi and Mumbai circles. The bids for EoI will close on February 11, 2021.

“To ascertain eligibility of bidders for participation in the upcoming 4G tender of BSNL in keeping in consideration the spirit of the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative of the government to promote indigenous manufacturing in telecom sector, BSNL invites proposals through this EoI….,” the notice said.

The bidder should have recorded an average turnover of ₹2,500 crore during the last three financial years, and should possess experience of installing 45,600 units of 4G radio nodes on a single network or 28,500 nodes in two different networks, among others.

Delay in rollout

However, according to industry experts, providing 4G services is at least one year away for BSNL as the telecom operator would take at least another four months to complete the eligibility process after the submission of EoI. Then, the 4G tender will have to be rolled out.