BSNL Tests First Indigenously Developed 4G Network With TCS

Bhaswati Guha Majumder

Oct 12, 2021, 10:24 AM | Updated 10:38 AM IST

BSNL tests indigenously developed 4G with TCS.
BSNL tests indigenously developed 4G with TCS.
  • Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw made the first test call from indigenously designed and developed 4G network of BSNL.
  • As per reports, ITI has worked with Tech Mahindra and TCS for the development of 4G and 5G technology.
  • Tejas Networks, an Indian telecommunications networking device manufacturer, has been developing 4G wireless solutions that can be updated to 5G.
  • With more than 700 million broadband subscribers, India is the world's second-largest telecom market. In the country, the telecom sector employs 4 million people directly and indirectly and accounts for 7 per cent of total foreign direct investment (FDI).

    The Government of India has introduced the Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) for Telecom and Networking Products to attract large-scale investments in telecom equipment manufacture and expand local production capacity— making India "a robust manufacturing hub".

    Broadband transmission equipment, 4G/5G next-generation radio access network and wireless equipment, routers, IoT access devices, and other items are all eligible under this scheme.

    However, experts have claimed that even when the 5G technology is deployed in India, 4G technology will continue to play an important role in the Indian telecom sector as the 4G availability is growing in the country. It is also popular among Indian telecom equipment and software making companies.

    These Indian telecom firms are concentrating their efforts on further strengthening the 4G ecosystem to assist operators in increasing revenues and Average Revenue Per User (ARPUs).

    According to Telecom Equipment Manufacturers' Association (TEMA) Chairman Ravi Sharma: "Much like a software release on cell phones (like versions 1.0 and 2.0), the new versions of 4G are released from time to time. Indian operators are not running the latest versions of 4G in all areas and, hence, will continue updating their technology and infrastructure till they are completely 5G ready."

    As it is expected, the next generation of mobile networks will use LTE or higher technologies, starting with 4G. For example, Tejas Networks, a telecommunications networking device manufacturer, has been developing 4G wireless solutions that can be updated to 5G.

    Sanjay Nayak, chief executive officer and managing director of Tejas Networks said: "For the country, all the building blocks and ecosystem to migrate to 5G are in place, but the commercial launch is some time away. So, we should be building a 4G network which will be upgradeable to 5G."

    Even the major telecom equipment manufacturers, Nokia and Ericsson are also manufacturing in India as part of the Indian government's efforts to boost domestic telecom equipment production.

    Ericsson currently has three facilities in Jaipur, Chennai and Gurugram, while Nokia has 2 in Chennai.

    Sanjay Malik, head of India, Nokia, said in 2017, "Nokia is already manufacturing 4G equipment in India and will be 5G-ready as and when the Indian market is ready for large-scale commercial deployment."

    In 2020, ITI, a state-owned electronics manufacturing company, announced that it is in talks with Indian companies to deliver end-to-end 4G and 5G network gear in India.

    According to ITI's annual report, the company is willing to produce equipment for the E and V band spectrum, which are considered critical for 4G and 5G technologies. ITI chairman and managing director R M Agarwal said: "Our company with its efficient and innovative state-of-art facilities and capabilities for manufacturing telecom equipment plans to manufacture eNodeB and 5G NR (new radio) products in its various plants."

    He also stated that ITI was in talks with other Indian companies to provide end-to-end solutions for 4G and 5G networks across the country using a local technology ecosystem. It is worth mentioning that according to reports for the development of 4G and 5G technology, ITI has worked with Tech Mahindra and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

    In Kolkata, Airtel was the first to launch 4G services utilising TD-LTE technology in 2012. Aircel, Vodafone, and Reliance's Jio later launched 4G services in India. With Jio's debut into the 4G market, the market dynamics have radically shifted.

    4G has filled in the holes left by 3G in terms of flexibility, efficiency, scalability, and security, allowing it to interface with a variety of networks and services.

    According to the latest reports, the first test call using indigenously created 4G technology, which was deployed in the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited or BSNL network for trial, was made on 10 October by the Department of Telecom secretary to Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.

    Telecom Secretary K Rajaraman called the Minister from Chandigarh, where BSNL is testing a proof of concept (PoC) of 4G equipment with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to achieve the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. Vaishnaw said in a tweet: "Made first call over Indian 4G network of BSNL (Designed and Made in India). PM @narendramodi Ji's vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat taking shape."

    However, the state-run telco is in the process of establishing a pan-India 4G network, despite its financial difficulties. It has requested Rs 40,000 crore in government assistance, half of which it intends to utilise to purchase indigenously created 4G technology.

    The government has set aside Rs 24,084 crore for spectrum for 4G services in the current fiscal year. BSNL anticipates that its services will be available to all users by the end of the calendar year.

    Also Read: BSNL May Have Found The Partner For Its 4G Rollout

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