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 BSNL to launch 3G service by year end

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PostSubject: BSNL to launch 3G service by year end   01/09/08, 04:42 pm

State-run telecom major BSNL on Saturday announced that it would launch 3G services across the country by the end of this year.

"We will be commencing the operations by the end of December starting from North and Eastern parts of the country and then South and West by March, 2009, so that within six months we will be able to roll out the 3G operations," BSNL Chairman and MD Kuldeep Goyal said here.

BSNL pins hopes on IPTV to reclaim top

"Mostly we will try to cover the state capitals in the first phase and then taking it to major cities and other towns," Goyal said.

On the demand for the services, he said, "The demand will pick up once 3G handsets are affordable. Applications suiting the people especially rural areas should be available in local language. Initially, we don't expect the demand to be very high," he said.

"Initially, we are talking to content providers for developing suitable applications, like video conferencing, video telephony, video streaming. A trial was carried out in Pune recently," Goyal said.

BSNL's special plan for rural areas customers

Talking about the company's business, he said BSNL was hoping to increase the revenue by more than 10 per cent as compared to last year.

"We are aiming to record 10 per cent growth next year", he said adding that last year the company recorded a turnover of Rs 38,000 crore.

He also hoped that the revenue would reach USD 45 billion by 2010.

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On the expansion plans, Goyal said BSNL was aiming at increasing the subscriber base from the present 73.2 million (which include wireline and wireless) across the country to 600 million by 2012.

"We are hoping to take the subscriber base of broadband users to 20 million by 2012 and 200 million wireline and wireless subscribers in rural areas."

Out of the 77.18 million internet customers in the country, BSNL had 4.57 million users, Goyal said.

On the poor patronage to landline connections, he said still the trend was there but that the company hoped to arrest the trend with the broadband spreading into different parts and new tariff plans set to be introduced from September 1.

"We have come out with plans where a subscriber just needs to pay Rs 250 for two years and thereafter he does not have to pay any rent for wireline or WLL phone. Another offers connection at Rs 20 per month with 20 free calls. With these plans we hope that the trend would be reversed".

As part of mobile expansion plans, Goyal said BSNL had planned to provide five million connections each in the North, East and South zones and nine million in West.

"This 24 million lines expansion is for our requirement for 2008-09. We have also come out with a tender for 93 million lines for next three to four years," he said.

Out of the 93 million connections, 25 million lines will be provided each in North, South and West and 18 million lines in the East Zone, he said.

Goyal said that the company had increased its market share of broadband services from 42 per cent at the beginning of last year to more than 50 per cent in the end of the year.

"We have planned to cover 30,000 plus villages. Out of this, broadband had been extended to 23,000 exchanges in the rural areas and the remaining would be covered next year, so that every rural telephone exchange would become broadband enabled," he said.

The company had a overall share of 22 per cent in the country he said, adding out of the 335 million phones in the country BSNL had 73 million connections, including mobile and fixed. Out of the 290 million plus mobile connections in the country, the company had 38 million, he said.

Referring to the company's entry into Internet Protocol Television services, Goyal said," we have already started services in Pune, Bangalore, Kolkata and Jaipur".

It was much better than the normal cable television as it provided normal cable channels along with various other facilities like storing the programme content for a minimum of three days and one can watch (it) anytime as per their choice.

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"We have identified about 100 cities to roll out IPTV during the current financial year," he said but declined to comment on the investments.

On the tariffs for IPTV he said,"it would be quite affordable".

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