BSNL 5G Update on Pilot Tests, 5G Launch and More



Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), the state-run telecom operator which has been struggling to launch 4G network, is likely going to launch 5G soon. Sounds surprising, right, and maybe a little confusing too? Well, worry not; we have an update for you. In the ongoing India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2022 event, the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) introduced its indigenous 5G core. The RAN (Radio Access Network) solution for this 5G NSA (non-standalone) network has been provided by WiSig Networks and VVDN Technologies.

If you are aware of what’s been happening with BSNL, you know that the government doesn’t want BSNL to source the network technology and the equipment from outside India for both 4G and 5G. This is why this C-DoT core for 5G NSA (non-standalone) is very crucial for BSNL.

At the IMC 2022 being held at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, C-DoT is demonstrating its 5G NSA core which is latching on to a Chandigarh pilot network from C-DoT, and then a Samsung phone is connected to the 5G network of this NSA core. Take a look at the image below, which we captured, which shows both BSNL and 5G in Samsung’s smartphone.

Image – 1 of BSNL 5G network on Samsung phone
Image – 2 of BSNL 5G network on Samsung phone

Now, our Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has said that BSNL’s 5G launch could come at the time of August 15, 2023. I think that it would be possible because BSNL’s 4G launch is expected in early 2023. TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) may score a Rs 16,000 crore deal from BSNL. Tejas Networks is expected to locally manufacture the equipment for BSNL.

BSNL 5G Pilot Test with C-DoT

As per an industry source, C-DoT and BSNL are going to tentatively start the 5G pilot tests using the indigenous core from January 2023. There could be potential delays as nothing is confirmed about the timeline. But if things go well and don’t get super late, we can see BSNL’s 5G network in 2023 positively.

But the state-run telco wouldn’t be able to expand with 5G fast as its resources would be engaged in rolling out 4G for the coming two to three years. 5G is likely going to be on the sidelines for BSNL. The state-run telco may focus on select urban cities for the 5G rollout to earn as much revenues as possible.