BSNL has received in-principle approval from the department of telecommunications (DoT) for its proposal to split its 4G network tender into two parts.
DoT will seek the approval of the empowered technology group (ETG), headed by principal scientific advisor K VijayRaghavan, Financial Express reported.
BSNL is aiming to launch 4G at a time when rival telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea are gearing up for their 5G network roll outs.
The state-owned has faced delays in floating a fresh tender since the first 4G tender was cancelled in March last year. BSNL had suggested split the tender: Part A with 50,000 sites targeting domestic telecom network vendors. Part B will be for the remaining 50,000 sites targeting global companies like Nokia, Ericsson and others.
BSNL believes that Indian telecom equipment makers are not in a position to supply core of the 4G network. TCS, which has tied up with C-DoT to develop a core, may be successful. Even if domestic vendors were successful in trial runs, they would take further time to produce requisite quantities, which would further delay the rollout of its 4G services.
Firms need to complete the trials in 4 months, but except TCS, most firms had sought for extension of the time frame to 6-8 months.
The company had said that it expected 4G rollout within a period of 10 months on successful completion of trials by local firms. Assuming that PoC got completed in four months, the network could be rolled out after 14 months from that date. But, in case PoC was not completed within the specified timelines then rollout timelines would also get extended.
A government-appointed committee recommended that the core of the 4G network should be built by domestic vendors under a system integrator model and not global firms like Ericsson or Nokia.
The 4G tender conditions will indicate IPR or licence / copyright for the source code of the software should be owned by an Indian company and it must have unrestricted, irrevocable access and licence to modify the source code and provide software support for all future versions of the software. The source code should be deposited in an escrow account and should be the same as the version deployed in the field.