Cabinet has approved reservation of 5G spectrum for BSNL, says minister

At a meeting held on June 14, the Cabinet approved the reservation of 5G spectrum for BSNL, MoS for Communications Devusinh Chauhan informed the Rajya Sabha

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  • The minister added that the Atamnirbhar solution for 4G by BSNL is upgradable to support 5G service within one year of the launch of 4G service
  • Testing of Indian make 4G Equipment, under Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, is already at advance stage, said the minister

New Delhi: At a meeting held on June 14, the Cabinet approved the reservation of 5G spectrum for state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Minister of State (MoS) for Communications Devusinh Chauhan informed the Rajya Sabha on Friday. In a written response to a question raised in the House, he said, “Further, the Cabinet in its meeting held on 14-06-2022 has inter-alia reserved spectrum for BSNL for providing 5G services.” The minister added that the Atamnirbhar solution for 4G by BSNL is upgradable to support 5G service within one year of the launch of 4G service.

BSNL testing 4G equipment under Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative

“The Government on 23.10.2019 approved the revival plan for BSNL and MTNL. The Cabinet inter-alia approved administrative allotment of spectrum for 4G services through capital infusion. On 21.12.2020, the Government approved the allocation of spectrum for Delhi/Mumbai to BSNL… Testing of Indian make 4G Equipment, under Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, is already at advance stage and the delivery of the equipment will commence after completion of the testing. People will start getting benefitted once this equipment are deployed and commissioned,” the minister told the Upper House.

In line with the Atmanirbhar initiative of the government, BSNL was directed to deploy Indian Core for 4G on the recommendations of Empowered Technology Group (ETG). Accordingly, BSNL sought Expressions of Interest (EOI) on January 1, 2021 for registration-cum-Proof of Concept (PoC) from Indian Companies interested in participating in BSNL’s upcoming 4G tender.

Backdrop

Even as its competitors are preparing to launch 5G services, BSNL is yet to launch 4G. The delay in the launch of 4G services has drawn the ire of employee unions at BSNL, who have lashed at the PSU management for their inability to speed up the process and at the government, which has not allowed the PSU to procure their equipment from global players like private entities do. The Centre had approved a revival plan for BSNL in 2019. It’s been three years since then and BSNL is still in the process of launching its 4G services.

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