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BSNL in talks with Vi for 4G Intra Circle Roaming pacts

Yasmin Ahmed     November 22, 2020

Government-owned telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is reportedly in talks with Vodafone India that was freshly rebranded as Vi for Intra Circle Roaming (ICR) pacts. Vi, in exchange, has reportedly demanded 10,000 kilometers of fibre connectivity. As of now, the two telcos are looking at bringing in ICR plans in two circles, especially in Rajasthan. As per reports, nation-wide arrangements for the ICR pacts will be brought about in a similar manner.

Where development of the 4G rollout is concerned, the Empowered Technology Group (ETG)'s Principal Scientific Advisor K Vijay Raghavan, is expected to discuss BSNL's plans to roll out 4G services, including the tender, sources told the Business Line. The ETG was earlier slated to meet either on November 20 and November 23.

BSNL Chairman and Managing Director PK Purwar, who would also attend the meeting, will seek a Proof of Concept (POC) on the viability of 4G from the ETG. The ETG was set up in India to advise the ministry regarding new technology and procurement strategy with indigenous ways and methods for selected key technologies.

An internal committee by DoT has noted that for BSNL's upcoming tender for over 50,000 4G sites that BSNL divert its focus and spending away from 2G and 3G, and use domestic gear vendors for deploying 4G-only radio and core network. BSNL opposed the suggestions saying it generates 60 per cent of its revenue from 2G. BSNL is looking to upgrade existing 49,300 base transceiver stations (BTSs) to support 4G.

BSNL is planning to provide its mobile and landline services to users in Delhi and Mumbai. BSN hopes to generate revenue from the customers of metro cities as it could begin services from January 1. Currently, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) is the government's provider for mobile and landline services in Delhi and Mumbai. The details of the tariff are not clear at the moment but subscription and recharge plans could likely end up being the same as what MTNL charges right now.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Communications made it mandatory for all Ministries, Government departments and the central public sector to mandatorily use BSNL and MTNL networks for internet, broadband, landline and leased line connectivity.

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