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Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has recently launched an indigenous 4G site at the Ballygunge Telephone Exchange in Kolkata, with plans to extend coverage across Bengal in the coming weeks and months.

BSNL, a state-operated telecom provider, has been trialing its indigenous technology in Punjab and faced delays in launch due to core issues provided by C-DoT (Centre for Development of Technology). Tejas Network is supplying the Radio Access Network (RAN) technology, while Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) serves as the systems integrator (SI).

Amid a lack of proven domestic technology or equipment, the Government of India (GoI) mandated BSNL to deploy indigenous technology for 4G/5G rollout, despite no existing company in India having such capabilities, with the state-operated telco receiving 4G and 5G spectrum from the government as part of a relief package.

It will take about 2 years for BSNL to deploy 4G in 1 lakh targeted sites throughout the country. BSNL had already rolled out some sites in the country with 4G technology from foreign vendors. Those sites are operational, but very limited in number. Thus, there are very few people who can use BSNL's 4G network today. To promote its 4G networks and services, BSNL has been running offers such as bonus data on upgrading to 4G SIMs, free-of-cost 4G SIMs for new users, and more.

In recent years, BSNL has experienced a decline in its customer base, losing subscribers to private telecom operators primarily because it lacked 4G services; additionally, BSNL faces the challenge of addressing coverage gaps as it endeavors to re-establish its competitive position in the telecommunications market.

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