State owned telecom provider BSNL will soon be launching their 4G services in 14 telecom circles as per reports. BSNL already has 20 MHz liberalized broadband Wireless (BWA) Spectrum in 2500 MHz band which allows for rollout of 4G services without any licensing hurdles.
While the telco has not given any timeline for the 4G launch – the way they plan to do it in a much faster way is by installing 4G base tower stations (BTS) in the existing GSM sites, which will not only be faster but will not have any additional expenditure on procuring and installing new towers.
A senior official from BSNL said, “By considering all the facts, it appears that launch of 4G services in 2,500 Mhz band is feasible and commercially remunerative. This model is best suited as BSNL will not incur expenditure and much of the investment required will be borne by the vendor. This can be initiated in all 14 service areas. 4G customers will be owned by BSNL and billing will be done by BSNL”
BSNL has already had a soft launch of their 4G services in Chandigarh, where they were able to demonstrate a speed of 35 Mbps. BSNL will be the 5th operator in India to start their 4G services after Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Jio already at various stages of 4G roll-out.
BSNL had paid Rs 8,313.80 crore for 2,500 MHz spectrum in all its service areas but later returned airwaves in 6 of them which include Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kolkata.
The 4G Race
With BSNL planning to launch their services, the 4G race is heating up. Last year, Bharti Airtel became the first telecom provider to launch their 4G services across 296 towns in August of last year. Since then, Airtel has further expanded their coverage to nearly all major cities and towns in India.
Close to heals of Vodafone, Idea Cellular too jumped the 4G bandwagon by launching it in 75 towns and cities across Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
However, it has been Reliance Jio’s 4G launch that has been the talk of the town since December last year. They have demonstrated their 4G capabilities by offering free internet via 4G WiFi Hotspots at various cricket stadiums during International and IPL matches. Also, as of now their 4G services are offered only to their 1 Lakh+ employees across India.
As per reports, Jio’s commercial launch may happen anytime now – and their rumoured introductory prices are mouth-watering. Imagine 75GB of 4G data and 4500 minutes of call time for only Rs. 200!
The 4G Race is surely heating up…and by end of 2016, we should have clear idea about who is winning this race!"BSNL 4G Services to Launch in 14 Circles with BTS Installations in Existing GSM Sites",