BSNL upgrading 4G to 5G technology in 7 months: Telecom Minister Vaishnaw

State-owned BSNL’s 4G technology will be upgraded to 5G in five to seven months and rolled out across 1.35 lakh telecom towers that the company has in the country, Union Telecom and Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Thursday. 

Speaking at a CII event, Mr Vaishnaw said that the government had plans to increase the telecom technology development fund from Rs 500 crore per annum to Rs 4,000 crore to encourage indigenous innovation. 

In response to a question on BSNL’s role in telecom sector by Kotak Bank CEO Uday Kotak, Mr Vaishnaw said that BSNL would become a very strong stabilising factor in the telecom space. 

He said that BSNL had about 1,35,000 mobile towers across the country with very strong presence in rural areas, which are still not fully covered by the other telecom players.

“Telecom technology stack is going to be rolled out. It’s a 4G technology stack which will be upgraded to 5G in a timeframe of five to seven months. That technology stack will be rolled out across the 1.35 lakh telecom towers in the country,” Mr Vaishnaw said. 

BSNL has asked Tata Consultancy Services to offer equipment for 5G testing to enable the telecom company to start the trials for 5G services. 

The minister added that with the rollout of 5G across BSNL network, the public sector company, compared to the two other big players and a third player, would become a major player in the telecom space, especially for far-flung areas which would not be served by a typical market mechanism. 

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