Mumbai: Six telecom vendors, including Nokia and Ericsson, have bid for the $9-billion tender by state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) to procure 93 million GSM lines. BSNL plans to extend GSM coverage to all the villages having a population of more than 1,000 persons by 2009.
"Six telecom vendors Nokia-Siemens Network, Ericsson, Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent, Nortel and ZTE have bid for BSNL's 93 million GSM lines contract," chairman Kuldeep Goyal said.
BSNL is upgrading its mobile network to 3G level and will soon place orders for equipment. It aims to commission the upgraded lines by July 2009.
BSNL will introduce value-added services like mobile TV, mobile broadband, MMS, location based services etc to the villages under the expansion programme, communications and information technology minister A Raja told members of the consultative committee of parliament attached to his ministry.
The expansion will help BSNL launch value-added services like mobile banking, mobile advertisement, tele-education and lost mobile tracking system during the current year, the minister said, adding, BSNL will tap the franchisee route to offer wireless broadband services through Wi-Max.
BSNL, he said, will provide high-speed data service (up to 2.4 Mbps) on CDMA WLL network. It will also launch its pre-paid services on WLL from this month, he added.
BSNL will set up 8,000 mobile towers by the end of this year under phase-I of the shared mobile infrastructure scheme. It will add another 11,000 towers under phase-II of this scheme.
Initially, 5,000 blocks in the country will be connected by wireless broadband soon after the allocation of the spectrum while the government has set a target of 500 million telephone connections by 2010 and 750 million connections by 2012, Raja said.
He said both BSNL and MTNL are gearing up to roll out the high-end services.
MTNL will also launch NGN (New Generation Network) at tandem level, which will help in smoother migration from current TDM network to an all IP network. It has also planned to increase broadband enabled exchanges and expand its GSM capacity in Delhi and Mumbai by 2 million each.