BSNL has extended the deadline for Indian companies to test and verify 4G technology to December 31. Earlier it was October 31st. In any case, local companies will have one more month to test their equipment. But BSNL 4G, which has already been delayed for a year and a half, is sure to be delayed. It is estimated that 4G will be rolled out nationwide by December 2022. Currently, TCS, Tech Mahindra, HFCL, L&T and ITI have all expressed interest in installing 4G network devices.
BSNL has already lost the momentum it needed to get through the 4G network. While all other telecom companies have introduced 4G, BSNL still provides a 3G network across the country. BSNL workers’ unions have also been protesting, demanding that the 4G network be rolled out across the country. The major step in the BSNL revival package was to roll out the 4G network nationwide but the process has not been completed yet.
The 5G network is expected to be available in the country next year. Companies including Airtel are pushing for a 5G rollout. Mobile handsets that can also use the 5G network have become available in the market. It is in this context that the slow pace of BSNL’s plans to upgrade to 4G next year is being discussed.
The Commerce Ministry has suggested that local companies be included in the final phase of the tender for the purchase of BSNL 4G equipment. It was part of the Make in India project. Chinese companies were excluded from the first phase due to security concerns.