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BSNL to roll out 4G services in 14 telecom circles

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After Vodafone, Bharti Airtel, and Idea Cellular, the state-owned BSNL is ready to roll out its 4G services in over 14 telecom circles with access to 20MHz liberalised broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum.

BSNL is looking to explore two method system mainly the revenue sharing model and CapEx model for its 4G rollout and has already soft launched 4G services in Chandigarh with speed up to 35Mbps.

BSNL will not be having any licensing issues while launching its 4G services as the company already has 20MHz liberalised spectrum in a 2,500MHz band, a senior official told. BSNL will also have the advantage of not spending on the base installation as the company will install the 4G base tower stations (BTS) in the existing GSM sites.

While answering about the device ecosystem for 2,500MHz band, the official stated that numerous 4G handsets from Apple, Google, Lenovo, Motorola, Nokia are already available in the market.

“By considering all the facts, it appears that launch of 4G services in 2,500Mhz band is feasible and commercially remunerative,” he added.

The official further elaborated on the BSNL revenue share model and said that BSNL will be extending passive infrastructure and the vendor or franchise will arrange its BWA spectrum and other elements like BTS.

“This model is best suited as BSNL will not incur expenditure and much of the investment required will be borne by the vendor. This can be initiated in all 14 service areas. 4G customers will be owned by BSNL and billing will be done by BSNL,” he said.

On the other hand, talking about the CapEx model, the official said that on an experimental basis in some selected cities, the acquisition of essential LTE (long-term evolution) elements can be initiated. This model also involves procurement  and integration cost.

Before taking a final call on the model, BSNL will explore both the methods.

For 2,500MHz spectrum, BSNL had paid Rs. 8,313.80 crores. However, the company later returned the airwaves in 6 circles including Andhra Pradesh, Kolkata, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Maharashtra.

BSNL has not yet finalized the date for its 4G launch.

With inputs from PTI

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