The defence ministry has moved in to fill the absence of phone connectivity in areas close to China border by issuing a request for information (RFI) to procure 4G or 5G based mobile cellular communication network in high altitudes.
The Army intends to install the network in a year’s time from the day contract is awarded to a company.
The 4G or 5G based mobile cellular communication is needed for field formations of the army deployed in mountainous, semi mountainous and high altitude region up to range of 18,000 feet, said the RFI which is a prerequisite to actual tendering of the project. “The network is envisaged to provide reliable and secure voice, messaging and data services in intended area of coverage to support operational requirements of field formation,” said the Army .
The RFI clearly specifies that the communication between user equipment or handset would be based on ”commercial AES 256-bit encryption or better”. Also, the army’s demand is that the handset should be friendly to port application for layer of secrecy. The solution must ensure that the network is inaccessible to any unauthorised and illegitimate user or through any other radio access technology network, insists the RFI.
The response to the RFI should include plans to meet guidelines as per DAP 2020, and specify the availability of network system as well as equipment in domestic market. The last villages, including Phobrang, in East Ladakh, has no mobile network, local politician Konchok Stanzin tweeted on Sunday. “How much time should we wait to get basic facilities like 4G and 24×7 light in remote and border areas of Chushul constituency?” he asked. This is despite the fact that China’s mobile connectivity is available on the Indian side of LAC.