NEW DELHI: State-owned telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is likely to start its 4G services by the next year, said a senior official of Department of Telecommunication (DoT). The reason for the delay, the official said, is the equipment procurement process as the telecom service provider is only procuring indigenous devices for the 4G services.
“BSNL will be able to begin its 4G service by next year as the telco is yet to complete its equipment procurement process,” said the official. “Also, BSNL will be using only indigenous equipment to upgrade its service to 4G, this is also one of the reasons for the delay,” he added.
While private telecom operators are on the verge of launching 5G service in the country, BSNL is still struggling to upgrade its services to 4G. However, the government is trying everything to revive the near-defunct telecom company. It recently infused Rs 1.64 lakh crore relief package to save the telco.
After announcing the package, telecom minister Ashwani Vaishnaw gave BSNL a target to double the mobile subscriber base to 200 million via both 4G and 5G services. He also said the 5G rollout will happen parallel with the 4G rollout once the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-Dot) is ready with the 5G technology.
The state-owned telco has suffered a loss of Rs 50,631 crore in the past five years. It continued to lose its subscriber base and according to the information provided by the minister of state for communication Devusingh Chauhan, BSNL has lost nearly 2 crore subscribers in the past five years. As per the latest telecom regulator data, BSNL and MTNL together have a market share of only 10% in the wireless segment. In May 2022, the PSU lost nearly 5 lakh wireless customers.