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BSNL close to inking 4G deal with TCS

7 Oct 2022

State-owned telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is close to finalising an agreement with a consortium led by domestic vendor Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for the rollout of 4G and 5G infrastructure, the Economic Times writes, citing a senior Department of Telecommunications (DoT) official. According to the source, the BSNL and TCS are expected to sign an agreement for the supply of 4G equipment within 30 to 45 days. The two parties are negotiating the price of the project, with TCS’s quote of INR214.28 billion (USD2.6 billion) greatly exceeding BSNL’s estimates of around INR161.36 billion. The cost of the project is understood to have escalated due to supply chain constraints, rupee volatility and rising labour costs.

Despite the delays in finalising a price with its suppliers, communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told press earlier this week that BSNL would deploy 125,000 4G sites over the next 18 months and would begin rolling out Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G in August 2023. Meanwhile, the minister also revealed that the government has approved spending of INR260 billion for the deployment of 25,000 telecom towers over the next 500 days. Funding will be provided by the Universal Service Obligation Fund and the work will be carried out by Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL).

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