State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is set to launch its 4G services from Kerala next month, followed by Odisha, a top company official said.
The telecom corporation hopes that the ensuing 4G launch on Long Term Evolution route (a standard for high-speed wireless communication) will enable its mobile customers to enjoy faster data speeds and improve its user experience.
“We are going to start 4G from Kerala. That will be our first circle on 4G LTE. We will initially focus on those areas where 3G coverage is low,” BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava told reporters.
This will be followed by Odisha, a revenue positive circle for BSNL, he added.
The state-owned telco — which competes with private operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Jio that already have an established 4G footprint — expects the 5MHz spectrum it currently has in the 2100 MHz band to be sufficient for the initial launch of its 4G services.
But to expand the 4G service to rest of the country, BSNL will require additional spectrum. For this, BSNL is seeking another 5MHz spectrum in the 2100 MHz band, which it wants to fund by offering additional equity to its promoter, the government.
“Once the additional 5MHz spectrum comes to us, we will start rolling out in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and other places. So the network will become 2G, 3G and 4G with enhanced data capability,” Shrivastava added. BSNL, which has 10 crore mobile customers across India (except Mumbai and Delhi circles), expects to roll out 10,000 4G mobile towers by March 2018.
Once the additional spectrum comes in, this number will rise, he added.
The company plans to have a separate brand identity for 4G services, Shrivastava said, adding that it will be announced at the time of rollout of services.