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BSNL to roll out 3G in six months, MTNL in four

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CIOL Bureau
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NEW DELHI, INDIA: Following the announcement of the much awaited 3G policy, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd will be rolling out 3G services in the important metros in country in another six months.

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Speaking to CIOL, chairman-cum-managing director (CMD), BSNL, Kuldeep Goyal said decks for 3G roll out have been cleared and BSNL will be offering services in the another six months. "We will be inviting tenders for our 8-9 million lines soon and final roll out will be in another six months," said the CMD.

BSNL and MTNL have got a head start over its rivals as they need not participate in the 3G spectrum bid and can roll out its services any time they are ready to roll out.

Goyal's statement follows the guidelines from the telecom ministry, which opened the 3G spectrum for bid to five operators for now, and another five more operators in future, provided there is additional spectrum. However, in Delhi and Mumbai, only three players can bid for auction of spectrum due to the scarcity of spectrum in these metros.

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However, both the state PSUs have to pay the highest bidding price following the auction of the 3G spectrum that will be completed in another four months.

RSP Sinha, CMD of MTNL or Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd , while welcoming the 3G policy told CIOL that the company will take close to four months to roll out the services in Delhi, and a little later in Mumbai.

Undue advantage?

On whether the head start over the other rivals gave BSNL and MTNL undue advantage over its rivals, the
Department of Telecom(DoT) Secretary and Chairman of the Telecom Commission Siddhartha Behura said that the PSUs need to have to some concession from the government for they are incumbents and need some support to take on the big players.

However, the DOT Secretary added that rolling out the 3G policy is very tough process and will take considerable time, and a little head start won't be undue advantage for these players.

The Minister of State for Communication & IT, Jyotiraditya M. Scindia also didn't agree that the state PSUs were getting a head start. "BSNL has to pay the same amount as the other bidders, and hence, doesn't entail undue advantage," minister told CIOL.

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