BSNL to roll out 1 cr mobile connections

By SiliconIndia   |   Thursday, 21 August 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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SRINAGAR: Buoyed by the success of its Cellone service, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) on Thursday said it had set a target of rolling out one crore mobile telephone connections in the country for which work would begin from April next year.

"We are planning to roll out one crore telephones on mobile and hope that it can be started from April next year," BSNL Chairman-cum-Managing Director Pritpal Singh told reporters here.

Singh said the state-run telephone service provider would roll out another 25 lakh connections by the end of current financial year which would also cater to expansion of subscriber base in Jammu and Kashmir.

"We are improving the infrastructure that will cover 800 important towns, which were not covered untill now, roads and highways all over the country," Singh said.

He said BSNL was also in the process of improving the services provided to the customers by way of value addition.

The customers will not only be able to access voice telephone but data services as well, he said, adding infrastructure for the purpose had already been tested and the services would be implemented in near future.

Singh said BSNL, which has marked a 100 per cent increase in subscriber base in the past four years and registered 36 lakh mobile subscribers since October last year, would soon introduce short message service (sms) facility on the fixed landlines.

"We have carried out the tests successfully and some vendor have developed the terminal equipment also," the BSNL CMD said referring to his company's plan on providing SMS facility on fixed landlines.

He said the company, which has 36,000 telephone exchanges throughout the country - most of them connected through optical fibre, is also planning to introduce other value added facilities like video on demand and interactive television.

On the progress made in the internet section, he said "BSNL has given out seven lakh internet connections throughout the country which makes us the largest internet service provider."

He said the target for this fiscal was fixed at one million internet connections but the phase two of the expansion envisaged increasing the number of connections three-fold.

Singh said offering broadband services, increasing the capacity of nodes and the bandwidth were all including in the upgradation plans of BSNL for the immediate future.

He said call centres have been set up at various places in the country, which will be linked to each other so that people can benefit from it irrespective of the fact where they are.

BSNL was also working on offering conversion billing system whereby the customers can choose the type of billing they want.

"It can give billing for a day, week or whatever period for all BSNL services used by the subscriber... The system has been worked out and it will be completed by the end of this year," Singh said.

In reply to question, Singh said a monitoring of cellphone to prevent misuse by militants would be done at the directions of the government. The system is in place at all BSNL networks.

He dismissed the suggestion that the service might be withdrawn from Jammu and Kashmir saying "let us not be afraid of that and enjoy the service."

On the delay of launch of WLL services in the state, he said testing of the equipment had been completed and it would be launched very soon.

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