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Even as the State-owned telco BSNL is awaiting approval to get 4G spectrum from the government, it has begun work on making itself 5G-ready.

Stressing that the worst is over for the company, its chairman and managing director Anupam Shrivastava said this fiscal, the focus would be on deploying new technologies with an aim to tap the nearly 50% of the population that is still “untouched by mobile phones.”

The PSU, which has a debt of about ₹16,000 crore, is likely to get 4G spectrum this year as part of a revival package being worked out by the Department of Telecommunications. BSNL had first raised a request for the spectrum in April 2015.

“New technology deployment was taken up for discussion in the board meeting today… 4G will, of course, be predominant. We are also preparing for 5G roll-out. We should be potentially ready for 5G roll-out, so that we are not left behind,” he said.

He said that BSNL would be able to roll out 4G within 10 days of getting the spectrum. “All equipment is ready, most BTS’ are 4G-complaint. We only need a software update to get going.” The company is currently offering 4G on 3G spectrum in most telecom circles.

Mr Shrivastava added that the board did an analysis of the whole industry and decided that there was a lot of scope for growth given that about 50% of the population was still “untouched by mobile phones.” “BSNL is best placed to take advantage of this opportunity, given its reach in the country,” he said.

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By udaen

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