BSNL will launch its 4G service before the end of 2022. 5G services are expected to be announced in 2023.
BSNL is finally upgrading its mobile network to 4G, just as private telecom operators have started rolling out their 5G services in the country. BSNL is the only operator in the country to offer 3G services as the rest of the industry has widely adopted 4G services. The move to 4G will start in November 2022 and the company says it has plans to upgrade to 5G by August 2023! The plan was announced at the ongoing Indian Mobile Congress (IMC) 2022.
BSNL told media that it plans to roll out nearly 1.25 lakh 4G mobile sites in the country over the next 18 months. The rollout will begin in November 2022 and should gradually spread across the country. BSNL has yet to announce how much its 4G plans will cost and whether the services will be comparable to private telecom operators.
BSNL enters 4G into 5G era!
For the rollout of the 4G network, BSNL is currently in talks with the TCS and the C-DOT-led consortium to deploy locally developed 4G technology for its 4G network. However, the 4G network equipment BSNL purchases now can be upgraded to 5G later through software updates. Therefore, BSNL’s 4G network will be ready for 5G once it gets a license for the airwaves.
As for its 5G network, BSNL aims to roll out its 5G services by August 15, 2023, which is the deadline given by the telecoms minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. “The Minister has given us a clear path that 15 August 2023 should be the date when BSNL should be in the 5G domain. We are working in the direction we have received. We should be able to make it (the target timeline), ‘ said Purwar.
BSNL has yet to announce which Indian cities will be the first to access its 4G and 5G services. Private telecom operators such as Reliance Jio and Airtel will deploy their 5G services in metro cities from Diwali 2022. With 5G, mobile data rates are expected to be in Gbps rather than 4G’s Mbps-based speeds. In its early stages, however, 5G should offer much slower speeds in triple digits of Mbps.