BSNL 4G tender hits fresh hurdles: Barring TCS, other players report technical glitches with their core partner

BSNL 4G tender hits fresh hurdles: Barring TCS, other players report technical glitches with their core partner

Telecom News: The rollout of 4G network by state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) will get delayed further as domestic firms, which have been mandated to conduct trials for the project, have hit a fresh hurdle. Shortlisted firms such as Tech Mahindra, HFCL and L&T are facing challenges with their Indian partner, Pertsol, which is offering the core solution for the network.

Sources said these firms have communicated to BSNL that conducting trials with Pertsol won’t be feasible and chances of failure are high as several technical glitches were unearthed during technical discussions. These firms have, therefore, suggested that they be allowed to conduct the trials with state-owned, C-DoT’s core solution. However, so far they have not been accorded permission as C-DoT has a tie-up with TCS for conducting the trials.

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Media Report (The Economics Times) : BSNL says deviations proposed by TCS for 4G network to jeopardize business, customer experience

The state-run telco reportedly said the deviations include a few critical issues that cannot be compromised for testing the equipment under Proof of Concept (PoC) or trials considering the same equipment will be commercially deployed for rolling out 4G services after the trials. State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL)’s 4G trials has hit yet another roadblock as a Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)-led consortium has proposed 128 deviations in 4G equipment specifications, with the highest deviations proposed in radio network (71), Financial Express reported. Other specifications where TCS has reportedly proposed deviations include core (18), interworking (6), deferred core (13), and deferred radio (20).

BSNL, though said accepting these deviations could jeopardize its business prospects and customer experience. It has written to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) asking whether to accept the deviations or not. The state-run telco reportedly said the deviations include a few critical issues that cannot be compromised for testing the equipment under Proof of Concept (PoC) or trials considering the same equipment will be commercially deployed for rolling out 4G services after the trials.

“According to this office, acceptance of such deviations will cost BSNL in future once the rollout happens and it will not only jeopardise the interests of BSNL’s business prospects but also adversely impact the customer experience as well as BSNL’s competitive strength,” BSNL CMD Sh P K Purwar was quoted as saying by the publication.

It should be noted that ITI and TCS have submitted their bid with state-run C-DoT for core technology and Tejas Networks for radio, and will conduct trials at Chandigarh.

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GS AIGETOA writes to the Hon’ble MoC for the immediate roll out of 4G service by BSNL

GS AIGETOA writes to Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad Ji, Hon’ble Minister of Communication, Govt of India with a copy to the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and senior functionaries of the government for consideration of our request for protecting the long term sustainability of BSNL by allowing it to upgrade its network for the launch of 4G Services through existing Proven Technologies and at the same time process for development of indigenous 4G/5G technology should also be undertaken in parallel.

We have mentioned that while we welcome the idea of current initiative of Government of India to develop indigenous technologies as part of “Atma Nirbhar Bharat” in Telecom Field also but at the same BSNL should be protected from getting obsolete and redundant due to absence of full-fledged 4G services for a very long period of time in the cut-throat competitive era. We have highlighted that there is no company in India at present, which can provide Made in India core for 4G Technology. This whole technology needs to be developed indigenously and is definitely going to take minimum 1-2 years to ensure a firm and rugged technology in place and another few years after full-fledged rollout to ensure its efficacy and proven-ness in a go-live environment. Till that time, BSNL 4G services cannot be allowed to be affected by virtue of this experiment as it has the potential to ruin the business prospects of the company in totality and will affect the livelihood of around 65000 employees working in BSNL. Accordingly  AIGETOA has requested to allow BSNL to upgrade/expand the network for 4G services through existing proven technologies and as an interim measure 50,000 odd BTSs may be allowed to be upgraded through the add on orders which will enable BSNL to rollout 4G services within minimum possible time.

At the same time, AIGETOA understands and also supports the significance of ATMA NIRBHAR BHARAT in the Telecom field which has an important strategic advantage not only for taking Indian Technologies to the next generation but also is critical for the security of our mother nation. Accordingly, we have suggested that instead of holding the full fledged roll out of 4G Services for the want of indigenous technology, BSNL may be allowed to upgrade the infra through existing available and proven technologies and at the same time, a parallel exercise to develop the indigenous 4G/5G core by reserving some locations and allocating a separate spectrum for testing should be done. Once the technology is in place and its efficacy and proven-nessis ascertained, all the operators should be asked to migrate to the indigenous technology as mandatory condition to rollout 5G services. Since the development of this technology will be in the best interests of the country and will create a new chapter in the Indian Telecom era, Government of India should bear the expenditure for rolling out this Project along with expenses for AMC for five years. Association has also requested for ensuring monetary compensation to BSNL for the delay in roll out of 4G services because of all these issues. Association has further requested that all the Central and State Government Departments, Institutions and PSUs should be asked to mandatorily utilize BSNL mobile services also in line with the recent directive to use BSNL/MTNL lease line/landline/broadband to add revenue potential of BSNL. As doing away with 2G services will be next to impossible for BSNL for next few years and also the fact that these services are still required for many Indian citizens, especially for those below poverty line, AIGETOA has requested for extending the 2G spectrum allotment for next few years and also that the new developed core should not be a 4G only model but should support 2G/3G/4G technologies on the same core. Running two parallel networks for 2G/3G will not only be economically unviable but also will degrade the quality of service also. 

Association has also requested that as BSNL has been totally engaged in carrying forward the telecom vision of government and also Atma Nirbhar Bharat Showcase Model for the Nation, BSNL should be exempted from profitability clause and the company and its employees should be compensated irrespective of Profit/Loss theory and the employees should get all the benefits of employees of BSNL at par with other Grade-A CPSE including that of extending Standard Pay Scales, Superannuation Benefits, Career Progression and other benefits. We have also requested that BSNL should be exempted from the profitability clause and the 3rd PRC should be implemented in BSNL without linking it to the profitability of the company and the additional fund on these counts should be borne out by the Government of India.

Friends, changing the thought process of government are herculean task and we all need to remain united. Association has decided to start a social media campaign also for the same so that government can ensure the long term survival of BSNL by considering the request of its employees.

Click here for letter

Call received from Deptt of Telecom (DoT) to GS-AIGETOA on the issue of 4G roll out in BSNL:

Today, GS-AIGETOA got a call from DDG PSU from Dept of Telecom about the issue of delay in 4G roll out in BSNL as raised by us to Hon’ble MoC & IT Govt of India and Secretary DoT vide our letter dated 01.10.2020. It was emphasized by him that DoT is very concerned about the roll out of 4G Services and following up with BSNL Management to utilize the opportunity as given by the government in the form of the free allocation of bandwidth for the services. We raised our serious apprehension to derail the much hyped rollout of 4G Mobile Services by BSNL from certain quarters, which is evident in the form of cancellation of 4G Tender of BSNL in the last moment on the name of indigenous equipment and formation of committee on the issue by the Dept of Telecom. We highlighted about serious bottleneck in mobile data speed in absence of commercial launch of 4G by us and difficulties faced in survival of BSNL in competitive telecom market when other operators are moving towards 5G Services.

DDG PSU was affirmative about our concern and asked us to have a detailed meeting on the 4G and other issues as raised with authorities in DoT on a suitable date. AIGETOA CHQ team will be meeting them very soon as directed.

In the meanwhile the Committee formed by the DoT on the issue has submitted its report which will be shared to BSNL very soon. He said all necessary actions shall be taken for an expeditious action for ensuring 4G services by BSNL.

Click here for the letter given by AIGETOA on 01.10.2020

AIGETOA extends it moral support to twitter campaign on 10.08.2020 launched by AUAB under hashtag #BSNL4G Now for immediate launch of 4G services by BSNL.

AIGETOA is committed for the revival of BSNL in true letter and spirit and hence time and reached out to the DoT and Hon’ble MoC & IT, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad Ji for the complete and timely implementation of the all the measures approved by the Union Cabinet on 23.10.2019. Our GS has welcomed the revival plan in an interview to NDTV in Oct, 2019.

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But even after passage of more than nine months of the approval of the BSNL/MTNL Revival Plan, none of the arms of the plan has reached to its conclusion except implementation of VRS. The utmost important aspect of launching of the 4G services has been derailed by the various lobbying by getting the 4G tender cancelled just before one week of opening. Now, the initiations of the process afresh have pushed the project a year back further. We have already suggested the DoT and BSNL management to immediately start rollout of the 4G service by upgrading existing 3G/2G nodes though the existing OEMs of the phase VII and phase VIII.4 tender till a regular tender is not put in place.

BSNL/MTNL Revival Package Facts at Glance:

  • Implementation of VRS in BSNL/MTNL funded by GoI – Implemented
  • Rollout of 4G Service by BSNL against allotment of 4G spectrum- Awaited
  • Issuance of bond to raise fund of Rs 15000 Cr by BSNL/MTNL- Awaited
  • Raising of Rs 38000 Cr through monetization of land by BSNL/ MTNL-Awaited
  • Proposed merger of MTNL into BSNL by addressing the issues –Awaited