BSNL's 93 mln lines tender for mobile telephony to rural India

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New Delhi, Sept 10 (UNI) The government today said Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd's (BSNL) tender for procuring 93 million GSM lines will help in extending coverage of its mobile services to all the villages in the country which have a population of over 1,000 people.

''Through this expansion, BSNL will also introduce value-added services like mobile TV, mobile broadband, MMS, and location-based services,'' Communications and IT Minister A Raja told members of Parliament consultative committee of his ministry today.

He said procurement of the lines will be done in a phased manner through zonal competitive tendering process, adding that tenders have already been floated.

Mr Raja said BSNL also planned to launch mobile banking, mobile advertisement, tele-education and lost mobile tracking system this year.

The state-owned telecom giant is also going to provide wireless broadband services through WiMax technology via the franchisee route.

He informed the panel that BSNL's mobile network is being upgraded to 3G levels and progressively commissioned by July 2009.

The telecom operator has also planned to provide high speed data service (up to 2.4 Mbps) on CDMA WLL network.

BSNL has already introduced MSC-based WLL System in its network and has also planned to commercially launch prepaid services on WLL this month.

On the wire line segment, BSNL is upgrading its technology to create a poleless network.

Reaffirming government's commitment to connect the unconnected population with the support of USO fund, the Minister said 8,000 mobile towers would be erected by the year end under phase I of the shared mobile infrastructure scheme. Another 11,000 towers are planned under phase II of this scheme.

Mr Raja said the government will initially connect 5,000 blocks in the country by wireless broadband soon, adding villages within a radius of 10 kms of block headquarter will be covered.

He informed the panel of the government's target of 500 million telephone connections in India by 2010 and 750 million by 2012, expressing the hope to surpass it.

On MTNL, he said it is launching a modern system of convergent billing to provide a common bill to its customers for all services.

The second state-owned operator will also launch new generation network to enable smoother migration from current telecom network to an all IP networks.

MTNL, he said, will increase broadband-enabled exchanges and to expand its GSM capacity in Delhi and Mumbai by two million each, including 3G services.

UNI SAA SR BD1915

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