State-owned telecom operator BSNL has long since been demanding 4G spectrum to be able to compete in the market which is dominated by private operators. BSNL held only one 20 MHz block across 14 circles in the 2500 MHz band which was feasible for 4G services since the only other alternative liberalised spectrum it held was one 5 MHz block Pan India in the 2100 MHz band which it is currently using for 3G services and the operator would have to shut down 3G if it wanted to use that spectrum for 4G.
It has now become clear after the release of the NIA that the DoT has allotted fresh liberalised spectrum to BSNL for launching its 4G services Pan India. The state-owned telco has been allotted an additional block of 5 MHz in the 2100 MHz band in 20 telecom circles (including Mumbai but excluding Delhi and Rajasthan) it has been allotted a 5 MHz block in the 850 MHz band in Rajasthan and a 10 MHz block in the 1800 MHz band in Delhi circle with a 20 years validity up to 2040.
|Circle||2100 MHz||1800 MHz||850 MHz|
For the uninformed, the PSU’s administratively allotted spectrum expired along with its UASL license in February last year but the DoT asked the operator to continue offering 2G services uninterruptedly. Subsequently, last month DoT renewed BSNL’s license to UL and converted the existing spectrum holdings to liberalised with 20-year validity effective from 29th February 2020. But the existing 900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum are being used by the operator for 2G services which need to be continued for the sake of the large 2G subscriber base.