BSNL, the state-owned telecom service provider, is set to roll out its 4G services within the next two weeks, followed by a 5G network upgrade by the end of this year.
Telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw made the announcement during the launch of the 200,000th 5G site in Uttarakhand recently.
BSNL plans to install 200 4G sites daily across the country, with live testing to commence after three months of installation.
Vaishnaw explained that BSNL's 4G infrastructure is upgradeable, allowing for a smooth transition to 5G through software updates.
The minister expressed confidence that BSNL would commence the deployment of 5G nationwide by November or December this year.
Despite competition from Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, which have already launched their 5G networks, BSNL has been offering only 3G or 2G services.
The delay in BSNL's 4G rollout was due to the government's decision to implement indigenous technology for the network.
To support its 4G expansion, BSNL has placed a significant order worth Rs 15,000 crore with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for the purchase of 4G equipment.
BSNL's Chairman and Managing Director, PK Purwar, affirmed that the company aims to provide nationwide coverage with its 4G network by the end of 2023.
The initial deployment will begin in northern India and progressively extend across the country.
In a noteworthy development, the United States has displayed interest in deploying India's indigenously developed 4G and 5G technology.
Minister Vaishnaw disclosed that India is preparing to pilot the deployment of its homegrown 5G or 4G stack in the US. Vaishnaw emphasized the need for expediting the process and conducting a pilot project in collaboration with US authorities.
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