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BSNL to launch 3G mobile service in July
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Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), the state-owned telecom service provider, today said 3G mobile services will be available to its subscribers in Bangalore from July this year. BSNL is investing around Rs 650 crore for installation of equipment and other infrastructure for launching the services in Bangalore. The 3G mobile services will be available across the state after December this year, a senior BSNL official said here.

Bangalore will be the second city in South India to get 3G mobile services from BSNL after Chennai, where the service was launched in February this year. BSNL 3G mobile services are currently available in 10 north Indian cities.

In Bangalore, to begin with, 200,000 lines will be provided with the services. The customers of 3G services will get three main services like video on demand, video conferencing and broadband on mobile and the tariffs have been fixed, R Mani, general manager, mobile services, BSNL said.

Speaking to Business Standard, he said BSNL is currently engaged in installation of core equipment like base station switches and towers to roll out 3G services and by July, it aims to complete the work. It has already launched Blackberry services in Bangalore under three tariff plans and has introduced three handsets in the price range of Rs 14,000 to Rs 35,000. While, Wipro is providing the backend support, the handsets are being supplied by Bharti Tele Tech Ltd, he said.

The third generation mobile service enables a range of upgraded services, including rich voice, data and video services, to the subscribers. 3G makes possible video streaming applications such as Live TV, movie downloads, high speed data download on mobile phones with 3G services enabled. Callers can also see each other on their mobile phone screens.

Shubhendu Ghosh, principal general manager, BSNL Bangalore Telecom District, said the landline subscriber base has grown by 13 per cent to reach 188,000 lines during 2008-09, compared to the previous year. Its broadband subscriber base has gone up by two and half times to 250,000 subscribers during year ended March 31, 2009 compared to the previous fiscal.

During 2008-09, BSNL reached a mobile subscriber base of 2.4 million in Karnataka, a growth of 30 per cent over the previous year. Of this, Bangalore has a subscriber base of 600,000.

About 93 per cent of its mobile users are pre-paid customers. To expand its broadband customer base, BSNL launched six new tariff plans.

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