Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), the Indian state-run telecommunications company, is partnering with Japan’s Softbank and NTT Communications to provide 5G networks and Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity across India, including through Softbank’s OneWeb satellite constellation that is currently under construction.
“We have signed an agreement with SoftBank and NTT Communications to roll out 5G and IoT products and services in India,” said Anupam Shrivastava, chairman and managing director of BSNL. “Under the agreement, we will look at a solution specially for the smart cities,” he added.
Shrivastava said that most of the BSNL competitors are still looking at monetising their 4G services; hence, leading companies have started looking to the state-run firm for the roll-out of 5G services.
“We have benefitted by the lead taken by our minister, Manoj Sinha. He has held various meetings at the global level about 5G. We capitalised on those opportunities and signed this agreement for the next generation technology,” Shrivastava continued.
India’s telecom minister Sinha has said previously that the launch of 5G services in India will happen at a level on par with other leading countries.
“5G will be launched in India in 2020 as soon the standards are freezed by ITU,” Shrivastava added. He also explained that BSNL is working to finalise testing options for 5G in India.
“We are in the advance stages of starting the 5G field trials,” Shrivastava said. “The government is in agreement to provide us with the 5G spectrum for trials. We expect to start field trials very soon,”
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has recommended the auction of about 8,644 MHz of telecom frequencies at an estimated base price of Rs 4.9 lakh crore (U.S.$68.1 billion). The government is yet to finalise the details for the allocation of spectrum for 5G services.
Under this agreement with SoftBank, BSNL will look at collaborating with the Japanese firm for its satellite constellation, OneWeb, which will include approximately 900 satellites used to provide high-speed internet services worldwide.