State run telecom brand, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) will be upgrading its GSM network services to 4G by the beginning of the next financial year- 2017-18. The company is joining the 4G market by launching high-speed commercial services in 14 of its circles, where the company has 20 MHz liberalized BWA spectrum in 2500 MHz band. It will gradually follow with a soft launch of the service in Chandigarh.
BSNL has already paid a sum amount of Rs. 8,313.80 crore for 2,500 MHz spectrum for all its service areas, but later specified it only to airwaves in 6 states of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kolkata.
The company has released tender notices for the up-gradation, and the launch will depend on the outcome of the tender. The Minister of State for communications, Mr Manoj Sinha has informed in his written reply to Lok Sabha that the up-gradation is based on open tenders. Mr Singh also clarified that BSNL is not intending to participate in the upcoming 4G spectrum auditions owing to financial crisis and other reasons.
Earlier, BSNL invited bids from telecom equipments providers across the country to add 31.02 million new 3G/4G users. BSNL is exploring in two methods for the 4G rollout, namely the revenue sharing model and capex model. Regarding the 4G plan of MTNl, Mr Sinha has said that the telecom company has no immediate plans of expanding and launching 4G services. It is primarily because MTNL has already surrendered 2300 MHz of its band spectrum. “As of now, MTNL has not taken any decision regarding taking part in the forthcoming phase of spectrum auctions for 4G,” he added.