Indian state-backed telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is to upgrade its 4G network to 5G within the next five to seven months, according to telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. The Economic Times cites the official as saying that the company will then roll out the technology to each of its roughly 135,000 towers nationwide. As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, BSNL 4G network rollout has encountered numerous delays, due in part to issues with selecting vendor partners. Several tenders have been cancelled, modified or extended in recent years due to security, political, technical or financial considerations. Nevertheless, the telecom minister has repeated claims that the company will begin deploying 5G in 2023.
In a related development, meanwhile, BSNL has asked the government to nearly double its allocation of 5G frequencies. The state has reserved for BSNL 10MHz of paired spectrum in the 600MHz band, 40MHz in the 3300MHz band and 400MHz in the 26GHz band. In addition to this, the operator has requested 10MHz of paired 700MHz spectrum, plus an additional 30MHz of 3300MHz band airwaves and an extra 400MHz in the 26GHz range.