Adding further delay to the launch of pan-India 4G service, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has cancelled the much anticipated 4G LTE up-gradation tender of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL). It comes after the violent face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in the border, the DoT asked BSNL and MTNL not to use Chinese equipment for 4G rollout.
The original tender was issued on March 23, 2020, after the much-needed Government relief announcement for the two PSU telecom operators. The tender was to install and maintain 4G LTE network in North, South, East and West zones of BSNL and Delhi, Mumbai LSA of MTNL. Chinese telecom gear manufacturers Huawei and ZTE were the two supplying equipment to govt telecom operators.
“Tender for planning, engineering, supply, installation, testing, commissioning and annual maintenance of 4G mobile network in North, South, East and West zones of BSNL and Delhi, Mumbai LSA of MTNL on turnkey basis issued on March 23, 2020, is hereby cancelled,” as per the notice from DoT read.
According to officials, a fresh tender is at work that will likely exclude or restrict the participation of Chinese companies (especially targeting Huawei and ZTE) on the PSU telcos 4G LTE up-gradation process. The new tender would emphasis on “Make in India” initiative and would help Indian telecom suppliers like state-run Indian Telephone Industries Limited (ITI) along with foreign companies Ericsson and Nokia.