Upgrading PSU 4G services: 6-member team to review tenders
NEW DELHI : The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will set up a six-member panel to decide the tender specifications to upgrade government-owned telecom companies BSNL and MTNL’s 4G services, said officials familiar with the development.
The move comes after the government instructed BSNL to not use Chinese equipment for the upgrade, which is likely to cost ₹7,000-8,000 crore, following Chinese aggression at the border. The process will likely disqualify Chinese firms, an official said.
The official said a senior DoT official will head the panel and will have a representative from BSNL and MTNL, two independent experts and another from the industry. “The deliberations will start Monday and tenders are likely to be issued next week”, said the official. “Formal cancellation of procurement of equipment from China will be issued Monday.” The official said they will encourage procurement of domestic equipment.
According to Mahesh Uppal, a consultant on telecom regulation: “India may be the second largest producers of mobile phones, but 75% of the internal components come from China, that will make it difficult to make the sudden switch,” Uppal said.
Former DoT advisor (technology) R K Bhatnagar said India was equipped to handle the challenge. “The Centre for Development of Telematics, the government’s research and development think-tank for telecom, can be the key player on Core Network and their solution will be upgradable to 5G also in coming months. In the last decade they have done lot of work,” he said