BSNL To Invest Rs 3,000 Crore In GSM Network

Hyderabad: | Updated: Jan 29 2004, 05:30am hrs
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) proposes to invest Rs 3,000 crore in the next five to six months to enhance the GSM (global system for mobile communications) network to expand the mobile reach, which will enable the company to offer 2.5 million connections more. We have already placed work orders to the suppliers on the basis of repeat orders and expected deliveries in about five to six months, BSNL director finance SD Saxena told mediapersons in Hyderabad on Wednesday.

Further, the company also has plans to expand the network to 10 million connections in the next year with an investment of about Rs 8,000 crore to Rs 10,000 crore, he added.

The new equipment would enable the company to reach about 300 new cities, 52 highway corridors covering about 5,100 km and 17 railway corridors covering about 5,170 km, Mr Saxena said.

The mobile connectivity, as of now, covers about 210 cities in the country.

According to Mr Saxena, the shortage of SIM cards for GSM phones will end in about one months time. We have already placed orders for SIM cards and expected delivery, he added.

Besides GSM connections, the company has also plans to provide about 30 lakh new WLL (wireless in local loop) connections in the next year.

Mr Saxena said that BSNL is contemplating setting up National Internet Backbone 2 (NIB-2) with an investment of Rs 2,500 crore. It will offer the broadband in terabytes, as against the existing NIB1 offering little over 100 mbps connectivity.

On uiversal licensing, Mr Saxena said that the BSNL board is yet to take a final decision whether to take it throughout the country or in select circles.

The board may favour the idea of going for select circles where WLL connections are in high demand, he pointed out.

On the financials of the company, he said the company is aiming for Rs 3,000 crore net profit in the current year ending March 2004, with an overall turnover of Rs 28,000 crore. The company is also discussing the voluntary retirement scheme, which is however yet to be finalised, he said.