BSNL picks C-DoT, TCS and Tejas as 4G vendors – report

India's BSNL is to build its long-overdue 4G network using technologies supplied by the Center for Development of Telematics (C-DoT), Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Tejas Networks, according to local media reports.

C-DoT, part of India's Department of Telecommunications, is already testing its core solution along with Tejas' radio and TCS' software products in the cities of Ambala and Chandigarh in northern India, say the reports. The update comes after India's government said BSNL would be required to use domestic products for the 4G network. This would make the BSNL network the first in India built by local suppliers.

Several other firms, including HFCL, L&T and Tech Mahindra, were also participating in the tender. They backed out because of integration and technical issues with core technology supplied by Pertsol, another Indian firm, during the trial.

All the vendors except TCS had opted for Pertsol's core solution for the test. After experiencing technical issues, they had all hoped to carry out trials with C-DoT but were left disappointed because C-DoT had already picked TCS as a partner on the BSNL project.

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BSNL's tender for the 4G rollout has been hurt by controversies and delays.

The company released an e-tender earlier this year to set up 57,000 4G sites across the country. It had sought proof of concept from Indian companies and consortiums willing to participate in its upcoming 4G tender. Later, BSNL issued a letter of intent to five Indian vendors of core technology – L&T, Tech Mahindra, ITI, TCS and HFCL.

BSNL is aiming to upgrade the 4G network to the non-standalone (NSA) version of 5G by 2022 and to 5G standalone (SA) by 2023.

However, it is unlikely that it will be able to meet to this timeline, with shortlisted 4G network vendors still conducting tests. It is likely to be another year before BSNL can roll out a 4G network, while private-sector companies are gearing up for a 5G launch in the coming year.

— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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