BSNL to use BWA spectrum to launch 4G in 14 circles

BSNL roaming
Telecom network operator BSNL is planning to enter the 4G market in 14 telecom circles utilizing its 20 MHz liberalized broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum or 2,500 MHz band.

BSNL, a mobile operator owned by the India government, will be competing with 4G LTE network operators such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone and Reliance Jio Infocomm.

At present, Bharti Airtel is the largest 4G operator in terms of 4G coverage in India. Idea Cellular is in the second position. Reliance Jio is targeting 4G coverage in 70 percent of India.

BSNL has already soft launched 4G services in Chandigarh.

According to media reports, BSNL is exploring methods such as revenue sharing model and Capex model for launching 4G services in India. The company is aiming to use its 20 MHz liberalized spectrum in 2,500 MHz band to launch 4G services without any licensing hurdles, PTI reported on Sunday.

BSNL is planning to set up 4G base tower stations (BTS) in the existing GSM sites, avoiding additional capital expenditure (Capex) on towers.

Apple, Motorola, Lenovo, Google, Nokia have smartphones in 2,500 MHz band catering to the demand of 4G subscribers.

In January, BSNL demonstrated 35 Mbps internet speed during the soft launch in Chandigarh.

Two models

BSNL may be extending passive infrastructure and its BWA spectrum, while telecom network infrastructure like BTS will be arranged by the network vendor or franchisee.

In this model, BSNL will not incur expenditure and much of the investment required will be borne by the vendor. BSNL will own and bill the 4G customer.

On the Capex model, procurement of LTE elements can be initiated in some select cities of one circle on experimental basis. This model involves procurement cost and integration cost.

The report said BSNL had paid Rs 8,314  crore for 2,500 MHz spectrum in its service areas but later returned airwaves in 6 of them which include Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kolkata.

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