In a letter to Modi, dated March 19, 2021, K. Sebastin, General Secretary of the Sanchar Nigam Executives Association (SNEA), said: “The relaunch of BSNL is delayed mainly due to the non-launch of 4G services and delay in monetizing and clearing land. debts. “
The BSNL group, which represents nearly 13,000 executives, further asked the main office to lead BSNL to upgrade up to 49,300 base transceiver stations deployed at a cost of Rs 5,100 crore in anticipation of upcoming services. generation which, according to him, would be the shortest. and a profitable route to 4G services.
In October 2019, the Cabinet approved a stimulus program of Rs 70,000 crore for the two financially troubled telecommunications operators, notably Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL), which contained the allocation of 4G spectrum, the monetization of assets and the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS).
Almost 50% of the workforce of the two telecommunications companies have opted for voluntary retirement, reducing the payroll by almost half.
“The new tender for 4G equipment can be handled separately without resorting to the upgrade. As the native core is ready, the equipment can be moved there, in accordance with government policy.” , added the letter.
The letter closely follows the view of the Communications Ministry, which opposes the use of core network equipment provided by multinational suppliers.
BSNL, citing reliability issues with local businesses, wanted to roll out proven or tested 4G core technology companies such as Finland’s Nokia, Sweden’s Ericsson, and Korean Samsung to speed up the deployment of the next-generation network to stop also the decline in the subscriber base.
In May last year, Modi launched the ambitious Atmanirbhar Bharat (Autonomous India) campaign to reduce dependence on imports following the disruption of global supply chains due to closures induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, and encouraged domestic enterprises to take advantage of the opportunities.
The Ministry of Telecommunications (DoT) recommended the use of India’s core network in the project to purchase equipment for the launch of BSNL’s 4G services, after the telecommunications company had to drop the notice of appeal of ‘offers (NIT) that it launched on March 23, 2020, March 23, 2020. back of restrictive conditions allegations by local sellers.
Finland’s Nokia and Chinese ZTE were considering a BSNL contract for the ambitious deployment of 4G which, according to the group of employees, could cost much less or nearly Rs 1000 crore compared to purchasing new equipment for around Rs 9000 crores.
“The estimated cost for a new tender is Rs 9,000 crore, but BSNL does not have as much money to procure the equipment, and the additional procurement will become an unnecessary expense for BSNL,” said Sébastin.
Local companies such as Tejas Networks, Sterlite Technologies and Himachal Futuristic Communications were eyeing the radio sector, while the state-owned Telematics Development Center (C-DoT) would develop the Indian core of the network. telecommunications. According to analysts, dependence on domestic companies would further slow down BSNL’s ambitious 4G deployment.
In addition, large systems integrators such as Tech Mahindra and Tata Consultancy Services in addition to ITI Limited, a state-owned company headed by RM Agarwal, are also eyeing BSNL’s 4G activities.
Last week, Sanjay Dhotre, Minister of State for Telecommunications, said the deployment of BSNL’s 4G services would likely be completed in 18 to 24 months.
BSNL will follow applicable government procurement rules / guidelines / orders, including clause 144 (xi) of the 2017 General Financial Rules in this regard, Dhotre informed Parliament.
In January of this year, the telecommunications company issued a new detailed notice calling for electronic tendering, for the planning, testing, deployment and annual maintenance of the 4G network in four areas in addition to Delhi circles. and Mumbai on a turnkey basis.
The state-owned company solicited proposals through the Expression of Interest (EoI) for carrying out the proof of concept (PoC) of Indian companies for a total of 57,000 sites.
In line with the views of the DoT technical committee, BSNL asked Indian companies to fulfill the eligibility requirements except for the technical proof of the equipment, and stated that these companies could be registered to participate in the PoC in accordance with the arrangements provided for them.
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