Union Communications and IT Minister A Raja today said the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) was planning to start mobile number portability (MNP) in major cities of the country by August, and in the remaining cities by the end of this year. Bids had already been invited for providing the MNP switches, the minister added.
Talking to mediapersons after the launch of 3G services of the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) in Chennai today, the minister said BSNL would start its 3G services in 12 cities by the end of this month. He added that the faster penetration of 3G would enable people to use the services with greater accessibility.
Raja said BSNL currently had about 43 million mobile 2G connections, even as it was rolling out 24 million 2G lines and 5 million 3G lines. He added that the country’s teledensity had increased from 12.74 per cent in 2006 to 34 per cent in January 2009, showing a stupendous annual growth of about 50 per cent. He said the government was aiming at 700 million telephone connections by 2012.
Speaking on the occasion, BSNL CMD Kuldeep Goyal said that besides upgrading mobile data speeds to 2 mbps from the existing 144 kbps, BSNL was also offering services like video-screening of calls, video on demand, mobile surveillance, Live TV and movie downloads on its 3G platform. The company was also exploring tie-ups with content providers for providing these services, he added.
BSNL has tied up with Nokia, Sony and Samsung for handset bundling, the cheapest of which is priced at Rs 7,000. Voice tariff schemes begin from a fixed monthly charge of Rs 350 for pre-paid and Rs 500 for post-paid connections. Data subscriptions are available starting at Rs 250. The company has tied up with Micromax and Huawei for offering laptop data cards at prices ranging between Rs 3,800 and Rs 6,000. Trials are on to launch mobile banking on our 2G and 3G platforms, Goyal added.