The Department of Telecom (DoT) recently conducted 5G spectrum auction in India wherein Jio emerged as the highest bidder by grabbing 24,740MHz spectrum for Rs 88,078 crore, followed by Airtel, which spent Rs 43,084 crore for 19867.8MHz of the spectrum and Vodafone Idea that acquired 3300MHz in the mid band 5G spectrum in its 17 priority circles and 26GHz in mmWave 5G spectrum in its 16 circles. These telecom companies are expected to start deploying 5G network in various parts of the country starting October this year. Now, IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has said that the state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) will start deploying 5G connectivity in India starting 2023. Also Read - BSNL’s 4G service launch delayed again: Report
The Minister told ET Telecom that The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) was making progress in developing non-standalone (NSA) core network, which will be ready in August this year following which its testing will begin that is expected to concluded in December this year. “By next year, Indian 5G stack will be ready to deploy including in BSNL,” the minister told the publication adding that equipment for nearly one lakh sites could be ready at the time deployment. Also Read - Quality of call in India is Improving, says TRAI
Separately, the telecom company has sought price points from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to upgrade its network to 5G. The development follows a contract worth Rs 550 crore that BSNL awarded TCS for setting up 6,000 sites in a bid to deploy commercial 4G network at 1.20 lakh sites across the country. Also Read - Jio is working with Google to bring affordable 5G smartphones to India, says Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani
It is worth noting that this is not the first report that points towards BSNL rolling out 5G network starting 2023. Back in May this year, reports hinted towards BSNL launching 5G over the 4G core, for which the company would be leveraging 5G NSA (non-standalone) technology. NSA technology uses existing networking infrastructure for deploying 5G connectivity, while standalone (SA) uses latest network infrastructure for the purpose. While SA provides a faster and more reliable connection, NSA is easy to deploy and costs significantly less.
A separate report by the publication says that the state-owned telecom company will roll out its 4G services across the country in 2023. The company is closely working with TCS for the same. The complete rollout is expected to take approximately 24 months.