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BSNL launches 3G pan India
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CHENNAI: By the 27th of this month, mobile telephony will enter its third generation (3G) in 12 cities in India, courtesy the state owned
telecom service provider BSNL.

Union minister for communication and IT A Raja launched BSNL's 3G services pan India, from Chennai, on Sunday, by making the first video call to TN chief minister M Karunanidhi.

The PSU was awarded one block of 2*5 MHz 3G spectrum in all telecom circles in the country, six months before, without participating in the auction, at a price equal to the winning bids in the respective circles, in the auctions to be held before March 31st.

"Considering the need for faster penetration of 3G, and the need for telecom access to rual areas, the Government policy will allow telecom infrastructure sharing between commercial telcos as well as infrastructure providers," Mr.Raja said. DoT also plans enable mobile number portability (MNP) in major cities by August, and in other towns by end of this year. Bids have been invited of providing MNP switches.

On the occasion, BSNL also launched its India Golden 50 tariff scheme, where, by increasing the pulse duration for all calls to 120 s, the tariffs have been have been reduced by 50-80%. Presently, a pulse is calculated at 90 s for national calls to other networks and 60 s within network.

"Besides upgrading mobile data speeds to 2 mbps from the present 144 kbps, we will also offer video screening of calls, video on demand, mobile surveillance, Live TV, movie downloads etc on our 3G platform," BSNL CMD Kuldeep Goyal said. For this, the company will scale up tie-ups with its existing content providers. However, the telco will not be providing its previously launched IPTV service, which has garnered 5000 subscribers, on 3G.

"We plan to operate 5 million lines spanning all district headquarters and important towns by end of this year at an investment of Rs.2700 crore," Mr Goyal said. "We expect 5% of our 2G subscribers to migrate to 3G." The company expects a revenue addition of Rs 500-1000 crore by this customer addition, and a 20% revenue augmentation by infrastructure sharing.

BSNL has tied up with Nokia, Sony and Samsung for handset bundling, the cheapest of which is priced at Rs.7000. Voice tariff schemes begin from a fixed monthly charge of Rs.350 for prepaid, and Rs 500 for postpaid. Data subscriptions are available starting Rs 250. The company has tied up with Micromax and Huawei for offering laptop data cards at prices ranging form Rs 3800 to 6000. "Trials are on to launch mobile banking on our 2G and 3G platforms," Mr Goyal said.

The Economic Times
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