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TCS-led consortium secures BSNL 4G deployment order worth Rs 15,000 crore

Around 75% of the deal will go to TCS, say sources; consortium is expected to develop 4G core and RAN technology for BSNL's telecom services

Photo: PTI

Photo: PTI

Sourabh LeleSubhayan Chakraborty New Delhi

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A consortium led by IT giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has received an advance purchase order worth Rs 15,000 crore from state-owned telecom service provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) in a widely speculated 4G network deployment deal.

The consortium, which includes Tejas Networks Ltd, Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) and the central government’s public sector undertaking ITI Ltd (earlier known as Indian Telephone Industries Limited), has won the bid for BSNL’s pan-India 4G project. According to sources, around 75 per cent of the deal value will go to TCS.

The country’s largest IT firm would be the first domestic company to provide these solutions on a large scale. Earlier, Texas-based Mavenir was considered to be the main contender to provide 4G core technology to BSNL.

Senior sources in the know said the BSNL board and subsequently the Group of Ministers had approved funds for a total deal size of Rs. 24,500 crore. The amount will supply 4G equipment for 100,000 sites, network gear for about Rs 13,000 crores, as well as third-party items and a 10-year annual maintenance contract (AMC). Given the latest advance purchase order is worth Rs.15,000 crore, multiple purchase orders making up the rest of the amount will be issued in due time, multiple sources said.

“The consortium led by Tata Consultancy Services Limited has received an advance purchase order valued over Rs 15,000 crore from BSNL, a 100 per cent government of India-owned public sector undertaking, for the deployment of a 4G network across India,” TCS said in an exchange filing early Monday morning.

As part of the deal, the consortium is expected to develop 4G core and Radio Access Network (RAN) technology for BSNL’s telecom services. The Group of Ministers approved the proposal to deploy 1 lakh BSNL 4G network sites earlier this month.

“Tejas Networks Ltd. is a part of the TCS-led consortium that successfully bid for the BSNL pan-India 4G project. BSNL has issued advance purchase order (APO) to TCS as well as ITI for this project. As a part of the consortium, Tejas Networks will supply and service the Radio Access Networks (RAN) equipment,” says a filing by Tejas Networks.

The state-run telecom operator last month signed a contract worth Rs 550 crore with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for setting up the initial 6,000 4G sites across the country. In the first phase, the 4G sites will be set up at locations that have high revenue potential and where the infrastructure is 4G-ready.

BSNL's mega plans to bring 4G services years after the three private telecom service providers — Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea — rolled it out, rests on the new towers being planned.

It has been instructed by the department of telecommunications (DoT) to quickly roll out 4G services nationwide and gain users. This is to shake off its image of a lagging government service. But the plans have seen repeated delays. The latest deadlines are August 2023 for rolling out 4G services and end-2023 for 5G services, sources said.

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First Published: May 22 2023 | 12:50 PM IST

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