October 11, 2021 4:10:11 am
Union Telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Sunday made the first call over an Indian 4G network of state-run telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), the telecom ministry said in a release.
The call to the minister, officials said, was made by Telecom Secretary K Rajaraman from Chandigarh, where BSNL is testing a proof of concept (PoC) of 4G equipment with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
“Made first call over Indian 4G network of BSNL (Designed and Made in India). PM @narendramodi Ji’s vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat taking shape,” Vaishnaw said in a tweet.
The call tested by the minister was the first made on a network developed indigenously.
The development is an indication of the roll-out of the technology by BSNL.
The state-run telco, which has been ailing due to high debt, is in the process of deploying a pan India 4G network.
The telco has sought government support of Rs 40,000 crore, of which it wants to use half for purchase of indigenously developed 4G technology.
For the current financial year, the government has allocated Rs 24,084 crore for spectrum for 4G services. BSNL expects to roll out its services for all users by the calendar year end.
Calls for indigenously developed 4G networks for BSNL gained momentum after the government curbed purchase of telecom equipment from China, following last year’s standoff between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Galwan valley, which left over 20 Indian soldiers dead.
Earlier, government think tank NITI Aayog too had suggested that the state-run telco go for indigenously developed 4G network despite the costs.
In September this year, however, the government nominees on the board of BSNL had, for the second time, deferred the telecom service provider’s proposal to upgrade its existing 2G and 3G sites to 4G.
The upgrade of sites in south and west zones will cost Rs 567.35 crore and once the approval is given, it would take three-four months to launch 4G services in these regions.\
BSNL is pushing for the upgrade because the pan-India rollout of 4G network by Indian firms is facing issues.
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