Sunday, August 7, 2022

It is pathetic BSNL not ready to launch 4G, when private telcos are ready for 5G: Union

BSNL’s employees union has written a letter to Minister for Communications Ashwini Vaishnaw, complaining about the deadlock in the launch of BSNL 4G service

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  • ‘It is disheartening to note that TCS has till date not even completed the Proof of Concept (PoC) till today (for supply of 4G equipments)’
  • ‘Due to the delay in the launching of its 4G service, the financial condition of BSNL is deteriorating day by day’

New Delhi: In the backdrop of the Centre announcing the auction of 5G spectrum, state-run BSNL’s (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd) employees union has written a letter to Minister for Communications and IT Ashwini Vaishnaw, complaining about the deadlock in the launch of BSNL 4G service. “… despite all the rosy pictures being painted by the BSNL management, we are pained to learn that there is a deadlock in BSNL 4G launching. When the private telecom companies are slated to launch their 5G service by December 2022, it is really pathetic that BSNL is not even in a position of launching its 4G service,” the BSNL Employees Union (BSNLEU) has told Vaishnaw in the letter dated June 30.

BSNL 4G service: Delay in supply of equipments by TCS

“As regards the launching of BSNL 4G service, we are informed by the BSNL management that TCS would supply 4G equipments to BSNL. We are also told by the BSNL management that the launching of 4G service by BSNL at the pan-India level would materialise by December 2022,” said the union.

Quoting media reports, the union said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was expected to launch BSNL’s 4G service on August 15 this year.

“… it is disheartening to note that TCS has till date not even completed the Proof of Concept (PoC) till today (for supply of 4G equipments). Initially, 30th November 2021 was the deadline for TCS to complete the PoC. Subsequently, the date was extended to December 31, 2021. The last extension given to TCS to complete the PoC was upto 31st January, 2022. But, we learn that till date, TCS has not completed the PoC,” it said.

“Further on 31st March, 2022, BSNL placed purchasing order with TCS for procuring 6,000 sites. However, TCS has not accepted this order till date, said the BSNL employees unions. “We learn that bargaining on the price of the equipments is still going on since TCS is not prepared to supply the equipments at the price quoted by BSNL,” the union has said in the letter.

Why is BSNL not being allowed to float global tenders: BSNLEU

Denial of level playing ground to BSNL has already been brought to the notice of the government by BSNLEU and AUAB. In the letter, the union has asked Vaishnaw, “When Private telecom companies, viz, Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea are permitted by the government to procure their equipments from global vendors, why is the same being denied to BSNL?”

“It is a fact that PSNL could have successfully rolled out its 4G service by this time had the level playing ground not been denied to it… We strongly support the Honorable Prime Minister’s Make in India policy and the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. However, our only submission is that all telecom companies, whether in the private sector or in the public sector, should be made to uniformly adhere to these policies. We are unable to understand why BSNL alone is being made the ‘guinea pig’ in the implementation of the aforementioned policies,” said the BSNLEU.

“Due to the delay in the launching of its 4G service, the financial condition of BSNL is deteriorating day by day. Soon, BSNL may go back to the pre-VRS situation,” it added.

Union says 19,000 sites of BSNL can be upgraded to 4G within weeks

“We earnestly appeal to you to kindly make intervention in this situation. It has been brought to our notice that both the South Zone and West Zone alone account for a sizable revenue collection of BSNL. Both these zones have 19,000 sites which could be upgraded into 4G sites by Nokia within a matter of few weeks,” said the BSNLEU.

“We have also learned that this upgradation by Nokia would only cost BSNL around Rs 500 crore. By view of this upgradation, BSNL could launch its 4G service in the South Zone and in the West Zone very quickly if our information is correct, Nokia has taken the security clearance of the Indian government. In that case why the option of launching BSNL 4G service in the South and the West zone through Nokia should not be looked into,” it asked

“We would like to humbly submit that we do not want to do any batting for any MNC. Our only concern is that BSNL should launch its 4G service immediately and should also launch its 5G service before it is late,” said the BSNLEU.

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