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BSNL plans Rs 530 crore rural telecom spend

Pradipta Mukherjee  |  Kolkata 

Curently Bengal has 1600 cell sites, which the company plans to nearly double.

According to Soumya Ray, chief general manager of BSNL, "We are planing to roll out wimax at the block level in rural Bengal by 2009. This would mean broadband connection over a larger area on wireless. Wimax at the rural level is important as there are not enough landlines for wired broadband connections."

Simultaneously, BSNL is looking at increasing its broadband penetration in rural Bengal.

"We have equipment and facility for rolling out a total of one lakh broadband connections, which we should complete by end of this financial year. We have already deployed 25,000 broadband connections in West Bengal," Ray added.

BSNL is also depending on educational institutions to increase broadband penetration.

The company has tied-up with HCL Technologies for computers with in-built BSNL broadband facility, in an attempt to increase broadband penetration in West Bengal. The company is also offering monthly discount on telephone bills if the bundled offer is availed.

BSNL is also banking on 3G spectrum for rolling out more value-added-services (VAS) in West Bengal.

Besides ring tones, BSNL would offer the convenience of sending SMSs in the mother tongue, thanks to its recent tie-up with Geneva Software Technologies Limited.

The service would allow BSNL subscribers to text one another in languages such as Bengali, Assamese, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malyalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu.

BSNL's east zone comprises Assam, North-east 1, North-east 2, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Kolkata and Andaman circles. All one needs is a BSNL handset which is Java MIDP 2.0 compatible and GPRS enabled, and send SMS GMS to 6199.

A website link will be sent to the mobile phone and the Language Specific Application can downloaded from there using a Bluetooth, IR or cable facility. The BSNL mobile to which the SMS would be sent only needs to have the facility to receive picture messages.

Other offerings would include Scheduled SMS Services for English SMS users in BSNL's east zone, whereby users would be able to schedule greetings or wishes in advance for a forthcoming special occasion.

This service is the first of its kind to be launched in India from BSNL, though the multi-language service was launched in south India before.

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First Published: Mon, July 21 2008. 00:00 IST