Public sector telecom giant Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is all geared up to start 3G services across north and east India in June 2009 and in the south in July, a senior company official said on Friday.
''We plan to bring 3G to north and east India by June. The services would be launched in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam,'' BSNL deputy director general (VAS) S S Sirohi told reporters in Mumbai.
BSNL plans to cover over 700 cities in the next three months, Sirohi added. The company is set to launch 3G in Kolkata next month.
It had already started 3G in Delhi last year, and in 13 cities such as Chennai, Jammu, Lucknow, Jaipur, Ambala, Shimla, Jalandhar, Agra, Dehra Dun, Patna, Ranchi, Haldia and Durgapur on 27 February.
3G is the next generation of mobile communications systems over the currently available 2G and 2.5G services. 3G drastically enhances multimedia and internet access with ability to view video on your handset, watch live TV, download music tracks in addition to usual other services.
Sirohi added that mobile value added services (VAS) are picking up fast in the country which would create an additional revenue of Rs.6000 crore in the current year (2009) and could go up to Rs.18,000 crore by 2012.
"Mobile applications in India will really explode... it is affordable because of the huge volumes" Sirohi said.
BSNL and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), both state-run companies, have the advantage of getting the radio band width for 3G services ahead of private sector players who have to wait for an auction to bid for the spectrum.
Sirohi told newsmen that the net outflow towards launching the 3G in 700 cities is around Rs.2700 crore.
BSNL currently has a subscriber base of 42 million with large presence in the north and east.
"By March 2010, the number of our 3G subscribers will go up to about 60 million in the country. Our focus will be on mobile broadband, mobile television, online gaming, video streaming, full track downloading and video telephony,'' Sirohi said.
On Thursday, BSNL had slashed the tariff up to 50 per cent for its 35 million landline customers across the country with effect from 1 March, 2009. The rates are only applicable to fixed-to-fixed calls or fixed-to-wireless in local loop calls.
The move according to BSNL officials is to boost the fixed line customer base, which has been diminishing over the past two years.
India has over 360 million mobile connections and a tele density of over 34 per cent as of January 2009 and this is expected to double by 2012.
BSNL provides telecoms services across the country except in the major cities of New Delhi and Mumbai, which are covered by MTNL.