BSNL had to scrap the notice for 4G tender, it originally rolled out on March 23, 2020, following the allegations of restrictive conditions by homegrown companies led by Delhi-based Telecom Equipment & Services Export Promotion Council (Tepc), ETTelecom had reported earlier.
The finalisation of the second tender has met with several roadblocks and the telco has claimed that the rollout of anticipated 4G services would be further delayed by two years if it were to fulfill all the conditions of the second tender.
The conditions in question are that the 4G core should be built by domestic vendors under a system integrator model; the IPR or license/copyright for the source code of the software should be owned by an Indian company with unrestricted and irrevocable access; and that the source code should be deposited in an escrow account and it should be the same as the version deployed in the network.
According to sources cited by the publication, the telco has communicated its grievances to both the Department of Telecommunications and the Prime Minister’s Office.
In case of successful completion, BSNl said 4G could be rolled out within a period of 10 months else it may get delayed substantially.
To come out of the deadlock, BSNL has suggested that the PoC may be limited to one zone or a few circles for 4G rollout, and on the other hand, it should be allowed to proceed with tender with PMI clauses, industry specifications, and a modified GFR clause relating to neighboring countries, the report said.
Lastly, for quicker rollout, BSNL has also proposed that it should be allowed to upgrade 49,300 sites, including those covered by ZTE which allows the rollout of 4G at these sites in six months.
Another option proposed includes the upgradation of Nokia‘s 13,200 sites but continuing with PoC route, and issuing of a new tender with commercial specifications.