Home/ News / India/  TCS bags 15k cr BSNL order

NEW DELHI : A consortium led by Tata Consultancy Services Ltd has bagged an order worth 15,000 crore from state-run telecom services provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) to install 4G telecom sites across the country.

The consortium includes telecom gear maker Tejas Networks, which was majority acquired by the Tata group in 2021 and government-backed C-DoT, which will provide the required radio sites, equipment and technology for the large scale 4G deployments, the Tata group company informed exchanges on Monday. Part of the contract has also been given to ITI, which is expected to be far lower in value and volume to the Tata contract.

Mint had reported earlier this month that BSNL was set to issue the purchase order, which now marks the beginning of the carrier’s 4G foray amid intense private sector competition. The company aims to begin upgrading the infrastructure to 5G within a year, top company officials said.

BSNL intends to put up 100,000 4G sites throughout the country. It has already set up 4G infrastructure in about 200 sites in Punjab, and held trials of locally-developed telecom stack of technology in Chandigarh region over the past couple of months.

Communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw recently said BSNL will start 5G services in 2024, and that a TCS- and C-DOT-led consortium will roll out the 4G network, which would be upgraded to 5G in about a year.

He also said launching 4G services is part of the revival strategy of BSNL which was approved by the government in July 2022. It included infusing fresh capital for upgrading BSNL services, allocating 4G spectrum by equity infusion of 44,993 crore, de-stressing its balance sheet, and augmenting the fibre network by merging Bharat Broadband Nigam Ltd (BBNL) with BSNL. The plan also included financial support by equity infusion of 22,471 crore for capex and viability gap funding claim of 13,789 crore. A sovereign guarantee to BSNL to raise long term bonds worth 22,828 crore for debt restructuring was also part of the package.

BSNL didn’t respond to queries, while BSNL chairman P.K. Purwar didn’t respond to calls and messages. BSNL is the fourth-largest carrier with 105 million customers as of January 2023 with a market share of more than 9%.

Gulveen Aulakh
Gulveen Aulakh is Senior Assistant Editor at Mint, serving dual roles covering the disinvestment landscape out of New Delhi, and the telecom & IT sectors as part of the corporate bureau. She had been tracking several government ministries for the last ten years in her previous stint at The Economic Times. An IIM Calcutta alumnus, Gulveen is fluent in French, a keen learner of new languages and avid foodie.
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Updated: 22 May 2023, 11:15 PM IST
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