BSNL: From Connecting India to Atmanirbhar Bharat
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited or popularly known as BSNL is a State-owned telecommunications company of India. It is one of the largest public sector units providing a comprehensive range of telecom services in India.
When the government decided to roll out 4G services, they took ‘Atma Nirbhar’ to a whole new level. The idea was to reduce dependency on foreign merchants for mobile networks and equipment. India’s telecom market has a monopoly of global players like Sweden based Ericsson, Finland based Nokia, and South Korean multinational aggregate Samsung. However, the state’s decision to allow only domestic
manufacturers will help them enter a wide arena of competition.
The companies have to first acquire the Expression of Interest of BSNL, which is reportedly 5.9 lakhs for the registration. However, no registration fee is required for the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises or MSME.
In the EoI issued, it has been mentioned that only Indian companies are allowed to provide the core network through a system integrator model. Global firms expressed their unhappiness over the source code escrow clause. It was also emphasized that the core shall be Indian and the IPR or license/copyright for the source code of the software should be owned by an Indian company, and it must have unrestricted, irrevocable access and license to modify the source code and provide software support for all future versions of the software.
Even with these clauses and restrictions, there have been twelve Indian and global firms that have expressed their interest in the same. It includes companies like Tech Mahindra, Tata Consultancy Services, Tejas Network, ITI, Larsen & Toubro, Sterlite Technologies, and HFCL. Some of the foreign companies include Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE, Nokia, and Mavenir Systems.
WRITTEN BY: ANNAPURNA PILLUTLA
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