India's BSNL to launch 4G in 14 telecom circles

05 Apr 2016

Indian state-owned operator BSNL is preparing to launch 4G services in 14 or India's 22 telecom circles, allowing it to better compete against private operators such as Bharti Airtel.

BSNL has soft launched services in Chandigarh and is using the launch to determine the feasibility of a widescale rollout on the 2500-MHz band, wire service Press Trust of Indiareported.

An BSNL official told the wire service that the company will be implementing 4G base stations on its existing GSM towers for the rollout, avoiding the need to fund new tower constructions.

To pay for the base station rollout, BSNL is currently deciding whether to adopt a capex model or a revenue sharing model.

If it chooses a revenue sharing model, BSNL will supply its passive infrastructure and spectrum, while a vendor or franchisee will be responsible for providing other elements including base stations. BSNL will own the customers and conduct billing but will share revenue from the network with the partner.

BSNL has not yet specified a launch timeline. When the launch does take place, BSNL will be joining the ranks of Indian 4G operators, which also currently include Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.

Reliance Industries is also preparing to finally re-enter the telecom sector via the launch of 4G services by subsidiary Reliance Jio Infocomm. Reliance Jio is conducting a nationwide 4G rollout.

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