State run BSNL will launch LTE based 4G mobile services in December this year adding to its already up and running Wi-Fi based Fourth Generation services, a top official of the public carrier said.
“Our 4G services are already there through WiFi.. LTE based 4G mobile services will come at December 2017”, Anupam Shrivastava, CMD of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) told Bureaucracy Today.
He further said BSNL currently offers 4G services through 10,000 hotspots (highest in the country) and the PSU is following a three-pronged strategy to get the LTE based 4G network in place.
“Under our capex model, we have given purchase order for Phase 8 of our expansion plan which includes LTE also. In this, L1 happens to be Nokia and L2 is ZTE. They have been given the order which will include base stations that we will set up for the 4G services. Then through the revenue sharing model, we plan to use the 2500 Mhz which we obtained at market rates few years back and we have floated an EoI . Two companies including Tikona have participated and we are soon going to decide on that”, he said on the roadmap of setting up 4G network.
The PSU which is staying aflot with its innovative tariff plans and marketing strategies in the face of bloody competition which has seen stalwarts like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea posting huge drop in profits, flat revenues and rising losses following the free voice and unlimited data offerings by Reliance Jio since last one year has even increased its marketshare by a small percentage.
Shrivastava said the PSU is also upgrading its 3G network for better data productivity.
“Phase 8 expansion plan has three parts in the tender. One is replacement of age-old 2G systems which we have to use because ours is a legacy network and we can’t abandon 2G completely. If required we should be able replace our unmaintanable 2G network which does not offer even an iota of data.. this is part I and expansion of 3G network is part –II while laying 4G network is part –III. All the plans are going on simultaneously”, he said.
As and when BSNL offers LTE based 4G services it will heat up competition with Jio on data pricing and with Bharti all set to enter VoLTE based 4G voice services to take on rival Reliance Jio, there may be another intense war waiting to happen on voice.