Communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Wednesday said BSNL’s indigenous 4G stack will be upgraded to 5G by the end of 2023.
The company has currently started 4G in pilot mode at 200 tower sites in three districts of Punjab-Ferozepur, Pathankot, and Amritsar.
“After testing for about three months, we will be doing about 200 sites a day. That is the average at which we will go. So, it’s going to be a very good journey for BSNL,” Vaishnaw said at a launch event of 200,000th 5G site.
“Somewhere around coming November or December, just with a very small software adjustment, this (BSNL 4G) will become 5G,” Vaishnaw added.
With regard to interest of India’s 4G-5G stack from other countries, Vaishnaw said the US has expressed interest in the technology and the country will soon start exporting the stack after completing the testing.
In February, the government has said that over 18 countries expressed interest in India’s 4G-5G stack.
Last week, BSNL has given an advance purchase order worth over ` 15,000 crore for 100,000 4G sites to TCS-consortium.
On the issue of telecom companies complaining about low Arpus, Vaishnaw said, I think the market is quite stable at this point of time. We telcos) have crossed ` 3 trillion gross revenue. So that shows that digital connectivity, consumption of data is among the highest in India.”
With regard to 5G deployment, the country now has over 200,000 5G tower sites deployed by telecom operators Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel. The 200,000th 5G site has been deployed in Gangotri.
Operator wise break up of tower sites was not immediately available.
“We kept the internal target to complete 150,000 5G sites by March end. We believe that by December 31, we will cross 300,000 5G sites,” Vaishnaw said.
When asked about Vodafone Idea’s 5G launch plan, Vaishnaw said the company is also planning to launch the services soon.
Of the 200,000 5G sites, the two telcos have deployed the maximum sites in Tamil Nadu at over 19,000 followed by Delhi at over 17,000, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka at over 15,000 each.
Besides the launch of 200,000th site, the government also launched fiber connectivity accross Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamnotri. “Most of the towers in Chardham yatra route also have now been connected. Fibre connectivity which supports extremely high Bandwidth will ensure extremely high internet bandwidth for seamless access for pilgrims visiting these locations,” the government said.
Reiterating the government’s plan to take a lead in 6G, Vaishnaw said India already has got over 100 patents.
The writer was in Dehradunat the invitation of DoT