BSNL has hit the headlines again. The State-run telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) in all probability would be getting a 5 Mhz slot in the 2100 Mhz band rolling out fourth-generation or 4G services. This measure would definitely make India’s telecom landscape more competitive with rivals such as Reliance Jio, Bharti AirtelVodafone India and Idea Cellular already pitting against each other.

To this, BSNL chairman Anupam Shrivastava added that “By next month, 5 Mhz in the 2100 Mhz band will come across 21 licensed service areas except for Rajasthan where we aim to launch 4G services on the 800 Mhz band radio waves”.

In fact, to this, Telecom Commission, i.e. a government’s highest decision-making body of the telecom sector, is expected to give in-principle approval to BSNL’s proposal for allowing 4G airwaves in its next meeting.

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This state-driven telco is currently offering third-generation (3G) technology-based services on the 2100 Mhz band spectrum which it wants to further use optimally for 4G-based voice and data services.

To this, Telco’s top official added that it can offer 2G, 3G, and 4G services concurrently, further referring that, “By rolling out 4G with an additional five units in the 2100 Mhz band can also help in the utilization of unused spectrum offering contiguity”.

In January this year, telecom minister Manoj Sinha informed Lok Sabha that the government was considering the BSNL’s proposal for an allocation of 5 MHz slot in 2100 MHz band.

To know more, BSNL’s 4G launch, expected at ultra-low rates to woo subscribers, instead could intensify competition in a market where Jio’s disruptive pricing has already hurt revenue and profit of India’s older operators.

Lastly, the telco plans to upgrade its 109 million mobile subscribers to 4G SIM cards or USIM (Universal Subscriber Identity Module) priced at 20. BSNL had sought airwaves in the 700 MHz band from DoT to roll out 4G services back in September 2016, but that’s not likely in the present scenario.