Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is all set to get revolutionized by the 5G technology. Union Minister of Communications Ashwini Vaishnaw said, BSNL’s 4G technology will be upgraded to 5G in 5-7 months and rolled out across 1.35 lakh telecom towers the company has in the country. The Minister made these remarks during a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) event.
India’s state-owned BSNL is undoubtedly a strong contender in the 5G race, which is currently going on in the country. India has one of the highest numbers of internet users along with a massive market. The country is currently going through a major transition phase of digitization and going forward in the direction of becoming a digital economy. Implementing 5G technology is yet another major step, which is instrumental in that direction.
What is 5G and how it will benefit BSNL?
5G technology is the successor and 5th generation of the mobile network systems. The technology is going to be a game changer in the way the world connects. The technology is developed in such a manner, that it will provide seamless coverage, minimal latency, higher speed, and highly reliable communications. In today’s world, where everything is either shifted or transitioning into the virtual phase, 5G technology is going to have a profound role in every sector.
Across the world, various countries are in the process of adopting 5G technology, as no country wants to be left behind in the upcoming 5G revolution and also to be a part of this ongoing digital revolution. Earlier in October, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched 5G services in India at the Indian Mobile Congress, in New Delhi. During his address, the Prime Minister highlighted that the 5G technology is a gift to 130 crore Indians, which the youth and the entrepreneurs can use to their advantage to help build the country to new heights of development.
According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), as of September 2022, BSNL and MTNL, the two PSU access service providers in terms of wireless subscribers, had a market share of only 9.79% while the rest 90.21% market share is with the private access service providers. In addition, BSNL accounts for 25.62 million broadband users out of the total 813.94 million users in the country. In recent years, BSNL is losing its customer base, but through the advent of 5G technology and the central government’s continuous efforts, BSNL is still able to be among the top telecom companies in the country.
Union Minister of Communications Ashwini Vaishnaw, informed that the government had plans to increase the telecom technology development fund from ₹500 crores per annum to ₹4,000 crores with an aim to encourage indigenous innovation in the country.
Future of 5G technology in India
The Central Government has carried out various initiatives of making India ready for the digital revolution, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi advocating E-governance and advocating digitization in every sphere of the government’s framework. He has also described the 4 pillars of digital India- the price of the device, digital connectivity, cost of data, and the idea of digital-first. Further, it has been projected, that the cumulative impact of 5G on India is estimated to reach around USD 450 billion by 2035.
During the ongoing winter session of the parliament, Minister of State for Communications, Devusinh Chauhan informed in a written reply that telecom operators are now providing 5G services in the country from October 1, 2022, across 50 towns in 14 states and union territories.
Informing about the current status of BSNL’s recent 4G upgrade and planned 5G upgrade, the Minister also said, “BSNL floated the Expression of Interest (EOI) on January 1, 2021, for the Proof of Concept (PoC). The PoC has been completed with a few pending points. 5G Non-Standalone Access (NSA) upgrade has also been kept as a deferred feature in BSNL’s EOI.”