Rs 1.6 Lakh Crore BSNL Revival Package: Foreign Companies Banned, Only Indian Tech For 5G/4G Allowed
BSNL & MTNL is going to carry out mega 4G and 5G modernisation projects. There is a Rs 1. 64 lakh crore revival package for these projects and the government has decided to restrict foreign telecom vendors from these projects and it has been instructed that these be awarded primarily to Indian companies.
This, once in the history move has been undertaken to develop core technologies and equipment within the country and reduce the dependence that we have on international players.
The government, with this localization move also intends to keep the intellectual property rights (IPR) related to the new technologies within India. This seems more and more important now that the concerns around cyber security and data espionage are growing across the world.
Failing to stick to the instructions, the top brass of BSNL and MTNL will have to face the flak and the same has been instructed by the Union communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.
Failing to Have Indian Vendors Would Lead to Repercussions
The minister said that “It’s clear that BSNL will only and only use technology that is Made in India. That’s absolutely clear. Just forget all the loyalties you had in the past, and move ahead. If you want to maintain the past loyalties, go back with them (foreign vendors). I am being very blunt”.
Emphatically saying, the minister said that “only and only the technology which is ‘Made in India’ has to be used” in all network upgrades to 4G and 5G.
He said that “We are infusing so much money (through the revival package) because BSNL is a strategic company in a strategic sector. In a strategic PSU, we will use only trusted inputs and technologies which are ‘Made in India’ under the Atmanirbhar Bharat programme. You should forget the rest, and take it out of your mind that there is any other technology or any other company.”
Previously, BSNL and MTNL have relied on Chinese and European suppliers for the equipment. However, now local companies like Shyam VNL, HFCL, and TCS-Tejas combine are providing new products and indigenously-developed equipment.
Speaking about being at par with foreign technologies, Vaishnaw said that even though right now the technologies don’t seem to be superior in the inception, but down the line they will get better. He addressed people and said that “May be there are some teething problems which need improvement. How many of you here are engineers? I guess the majority. Is there anything perfect in the beginning? There are improvements, versions, new features etc… that’s the way of life, that’s the way we studied, that’s the way we trained, that’s the way we have practiced in the field.”
Local Players Roll Their Sleeves Up
When it comes to the localization push, Rajiv Mehrotra, chairman of VNL, said that “We have field-proven, secure and sustainable 4G/LTE communication solutions… With the introduction of 5G, we are hopeful that our innovations will also help in bridging standardisation gaps”.
Mahendra Nahata, MD of HFCL, also sees BSNL’s 5G push as an enabler for local technologies and homegrown companies. “We are excited about the 5G rollout becoming areality soon and the vast opportunity that will unfold for Indian enterprises and consumers…” Nahata said.