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BSNL Focuses on 4G Network Completion, Delays 5G Ambitions to 2025

Indian state-owned telecom giant Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is set to concentrate its efforts throughout 2024 on finalizing its nationwide 4G network deployment, aiming to achieve a significant 20% share of the mobile market by year-end. According to reports in Financial Express, BSNL’s CMD PK Purwar outlined the strategy, emphasizing accelerated 4G rollout and enhanced network reliability as key drivers.

BSNL’s current initiatives include upgrading existing cell sites and installing new ones across states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh (East), Uttar Pradesh (West), Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh. The telco plans to have 100,000 4G base stations operational by the end of this year, significantly bolstering its network capacity.

Notably, BSNL is building its 4G and future 5G infrastructure entirely using locally developed network equipment, following a major advance purchase order to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)-led consortium last year. This consortium includes Tejas Networks, the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), and ITI Limited.

Despite earlier projections for a 5G rollout by late 2023, BSNL has postponed its 5G ambitions to 2025, citing the need to first solidify its 4G foundation. Purwar confirmed that BSNL’s 4G base stations are designed for seamless software upgrades to 5G, positioning the telco for future technological advancements.

In contrast, private telecom operators like Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are poised to complete their 5G deployments by the end of 2024, with significant subscriber uptake already noted. BSNL’s strategic delay in 5G deployment reflects its focus on infrastructure readiness and competitive market positioning.

The telecom landscape in India continues to evolve rapidly, with BSNL’s strategic decisions shaping its trajectory towards enhanced network capabilities and market competitiveness in the coming years.

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