BSNL, MTNL to add 28,300 mobile sites

In a move aimed to improve their coverage quality, state-run telecom companies BSNL and MTNL plan to add around 28,300 new mobile sites.

According to the state-owned telecom operators the augmentation process would be initiated soon.

"To improve coverage and data speed, BSNL is augmenting its network by adding IP-based 10,502 new Node Bs (3G antenna) and 14,263 base transceiver stations (generally for 2G) in the network as part of phase 7 expansion plan," telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.

Similarly, MTNL was adding 3,526 mobile sites which include both 2G and 3G equipment for enhancing coverage in Delhi and Mumbai. Prasad further added.

He said, MTNL was augmenting network by adding 1,080 Node-Bs and 800 BTSs in Delhi and 1,080 Node-Bs and 566 BTSs in Mumbai. He said both public sector units were making changes in their network that would enhance 3G download speed by about six times.

He added BSNL and MTNL were also upgrading their existing high speed downlink packet access 3G network supporting download speed of 3.6Mbps and upload speed of 384kbps to support high speed packet access with download speed of 21.1Mbps and upload speed of 5.76 mbps per sector in each node-B.

BSNL and MTNL had lagged behind the private telecom players in terms of wireless broadband subscribers, Digit reported. The latest TRAI figures show, private telcos held 89.56 per cent of the wireless subscriber market share while BSNL and MTNL held just 10.44 per cent market share.

Recently, Prasad had said improving BSNL's functioning was one of the top priorities of the government, PTI reported. He was quoted as saying the condition of BSNL was not very healthy, adding, it was priority area of government to improve the functioning of BSNL. He said there was need for a lot of improvement.

Despite government support, the state-run telecom operators apparently had not tapped the Indian market – which is one of the largest smartphone markets in the world.  Poor coverage and ordinary customer service had led customers to switch to private players.