Empowered Technical Group may look into BSNL’s 4G rollout next week

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on November 20, 2020

BSNL in discussions with Vodafone Idea for 4G ICR

The Empowered Technology Group (ETG), headed by Principal Scientific Advisor K VijayRaghavan, would discuss State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL)’s proposed plans to roll out 4G services, including issuing a tender, next week.

BSNL Chairman and Managing Director PK Purwar, who would also attend the meeting, will seek a Proof of Concept (PoC) on the viability of 4G from the ETG, sources close to the development told BusinessLine.

The ETG was earlier slated to meet either on November 20 and November 23, they said.

A Technical Committee, constituted by the Government, in its September 30 report, recommended that BSNL phase out 2G services in the next two years and concentrate only on 4G services.

However, this was opposed by BSNL unions and employees as the operator rakes in about 60 per cent of its mobile revenue from 2G services. Further, the company needs technology that is compatible with both 2G and 4G services, while it is also seeking to upgrade existing 49,300 base transceiver stations (BTSs) to support 4G.

Also Read: BSNL unions to protest against cancellation of 4G tender

Earlier this year, the Union Cabinet approved the constitution of a 12-member ETG, with K VijayRaghavan as its chair, to advise the Government on priorities and strategies for research on emerging technologies across sectors.

ICR with Vodafone

BSNL has also initiated discussions with Vodafone Idea Ltd, now providing services under the brand ‘Vi’, for 4G Intra Circle Roaming (ICR) agreements. VIL, on its part, has sought optical fibre connectivity of about 10,000 km in lieu of ICR agreements.

The discussions are being spearheaded by BSNL CMD PK Purwar, sources said.

The companies are currently testing 4G roaming in two circles, including Rajasthan, while talks are on provide it across the country.

Earlier in October, the Ministry of Communications issued a memorandum asking all Ministries, Government departments and central public sector undertaking to mandatorily use BSNL and MTNL networks for internet, broadband, landline and leasedline connectivity.

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Also Read: BSNL union seeks add-on purchase orders for 4G rollout

Published on November 20, 2020

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