BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.) has made a significant move by awarding advance purchase orders worth ₹15,700 crore to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and ITI Ltd for the deployment of 100,000 4G sites. This decision brings an end to months of speculation, with TCS being selected as the preferred candidate for the contract. The collaboration between BSNL, TCS, and ITI is a crucial milestone in BSNL’s efforts to upgrade its infrastructure and expand its network nationwide.
As part of the agreement, state-run ITI will play a significant role by deploying 20% of the 4G sites. This highlights the government’s commitment to supporting domestic players in the telecom sector, as ITI holds a reservation of 20% in BSNL’s next-generation network deployment. The partnership between ITI and BSNL further strengthens the indigenous telecom manufacturing capabilities of the country.
BSNL plans to issue purchase orders on a circle-wise basis to acquire the necessary equipment for the 4G network expansion. The advance purchase orders (APOs) were officially issued on May 19, marking the beginning of the project. This systematic approach ensures a streamlined and efficient implementation process for BSNL’s ambitious network modernization plans.
While BSNL has been a prominent player in fixed-line and wireless telephony and data services across India (except Mumbai and New Delhi), private sector competitors have already established 4G services and even introduced 5G offerings in certain areas. This collaboration with TCS and ITI demonstrates BSNL’s commitment to catching up with the rapidly evolving telecom landscape and providing advanced services to its customers.
TCS, India’s largest software exporter, will lead the consortium responsible for implementing the BSNL 4G project. The consortium includes Tejas Networks, a telecom gear manufacturing company within the Tata Group, which will supply and service the Radio Access Networks (RAN) equipment. This partnership contributes to the growth of the domestic telecom manufacturing ecosystem.
For TCS, this deal comes at a crucial time as its major markets in the United States and Europe are experiencing a slowdown. Leading the BSNL 4G project puts TCS in a favorable position for significant revenue growth. However, the involvement of multiple players in the project may impact TCS’s profit margins, as the responsibilities and revenues are shared among consortium members.