Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, popularly known as BSNL, will roll out its 5G services to customers in August 2023, telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced on the inaugural day of the India Mobile Congress (IMC). Also Read - 5G in India: Govt tells telcos not to install 5G base stations within 2.1 km from airports, here's why
According to the union minister, BSNL will provide 5G to its users next year from August 15 onwards. It is likely the state-owned company hosts a major event to mark its big leap because comparatively, its 5G services would arrive much faster than its 4G services ever did. Also Read - 5G to constitute over 50 percent of mobile subscriptions in India by 2028: Report
The state-owned telecom company has been struggling to keep pace with the private players for years, over and above other grave issues that delayed a pan-India 4G rollout. BSNL’s 4G services are still limited to a few telecom circles. Meanwhile, Jio and Airtel users in some cities have started using 5G. Also Read - Airtel 5G Plus goes live in Guwahati: Everything you need to know
Vaishnaw also said that BSNL’s 5G tariff will also be affordable, without specifying whether it will be the same as the company’s 4G tariff. Private companies, on the other hand, have hinted at aggressive pricing for 5G services to boost adoption.
Earlier this year, the government announced a revival package of $20.5 billion for BSNL to make it recover its losses as it continued to lag behind its private counterparts. “I would like to congratulate Honourable Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw and the Government of India for their efforts to strengthen BSNL. A strong BSNL will bring the balancing presence of a government entity in this very strategic sector,” Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani said at the exhibition while launching Jio 5G.
For a long time, the government was also mulling merging Mahanagar Telecom Nigam Limited (MTNL), the other state-run telecom provider that is present only in Delhi and Mumbai. But later it was decided that MTNL will become a subsidiary of BSNL instead. According to Economic Times, BSNL will use indigenously developed technologies for 5G deployment in a bid to counter private companies, Reliance Jio and Airtel.
ANI reported that Vaishnaw also said that 5G services will be available in over 200 cities in the next six months, while 80 to 90 percent of the country will have 5G coverage in the next two years.