Indian state-run provider BSNL looks set to begin offering commercial 4G this year following years of delays.
The Economic Times (ET) quoted Minister of State for Communication Devusinh Chauhan as saying that BSNL’s proof-of-concept (PoC) trials would be concluded by the end of January 2022, and that the government expects the operator to acquire network equipment around April.
"The commercial rollout of 4G services of BSNL is expected to start from August-September 2022," added Chauhan. Deployment will focus on urban and suburban population centres, with BSNL aiming to install 50,000 4G sites in its first phase. The network will expand to encompass 90,000 sites.
Using a consortium supported by Tata Consultancy Services, BSNL carried out network testing from July 2021. Initially due to last 120 days, the trial was extended to the end of the year due to a shortage of radio equipment. Tata is currently carrying out further testing with the state R&D organisation C-DoT (Centre for Development of Telematics).
BSNL has been looking into a 4G offering since April 2015, when its then-chairman Anupam Shrivastava requested a holding of 2500MHz spectrum from the DoT (Department of Telecom).