3G spectrum allocation only after July

NEW DELHI: The Government favours the entry of foreign telecom operators in the country to take advantage of the additional 42.5 MHz spectrum becoming available for third generation mobile telephony and introduce competition.

A new 3G Spectrum Allocation Plan is also expected to be announced by the Department of Telecommunications after additional spectrum become available by July.


Communications and Information Technology Minister Dayanidhi Maran also told newspersons in an informal chat that 9 million broadband connections will be rolled out by the year-end, of which 7 million will be contributed by BSNL and MTNL.

He said broadband connections posted a growth of 70 per cent to touch 2.3 million at the end of March, as compared to 1.35 million last year. The broadband subscribers were 2.21 million in February last, thus adding 0.09 million subscribers in the month of March.

He also said rural areas of the country will have a total of 50 million telecom subscribers this year by setting up 8,000 transmitting towers in rural areas. The overall telecom base of the country will reach 250 million by August from 206.83 million at present. The towers will be installed through the Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund during the current calendar year.

A total of 10,000 towers will be set up in rural areas by 2009-10 and the USO administration had been asked to draw up a fibre to village (FTV) plan, he said.


Maran said the total telephony subscriber base (wireless and wireline) stands at 206.83 million at the end of the fiscal year, with an annual addition of 66.51 million subscribers during 2006-2007.

The wireless services subscriber base at the end of March this year stood at 166.05 million as compared to 98.78 million in the same month last year, registering a growth of 68 per cent. According to figures released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the month added 3.53 million wireless subscribers as against 6.21 million subscribers in February this year.

Meanwhile, the Minister said a penalty of Rs 1,000 per subscriber will be imposed on the telecom operators for non-verification of customers’ identity, the process for which has already begun.


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