BSNL to receive 4G spectrum when private telcos get ready for 5G rollout
18 February 2020
State-run telecom operator, which along with sister company MTNL shed over 93,000 jobs as part of the plans to mak4e the telecom operator more agile, will start receiving $g spectrum beginning 1 April, at a time when its private sector peers will be applying for 5G spectrum.
As part of its revival package provided by the government, BSNL will launch 4G services next year after receiving spectrum from the DoT. While this will enable BSNL to bolster its 4G footprint across the country over the next 19 months, it will still find to be wanting in offering 5G services
Now, the focus will shift towards merging BSNL and MTNL, followed by the 4G services launch in 20 telecom circles where the former is operating
Despite offering no 4G services, the state-run telco, however, managed to win subscribers, emerging as the only telco besides Reliance Jio to add subscribers since 2016. BSNL’ subscriber base now stands at over 120 million and the launch of 4G services will only increase it further.
BSNL was initially said to launch 5G services directly, skipping the 4G round, but that isn’t happening because debt-ridden private telcos are in line to acquire spectrum and government wants money.
Indian consumers can expect to start buying the first set of 5G phones as early as in the first half of 2020, with some devices likely to be available in the first quarter, albeit at the higher end.
However, the government prepares to auction 5G spectrum only in the April-June quarter.