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3G spectrum pricing awaits WPC report: Maran

BANGALORE: The Union Government will unveil its pricing policy for 3G spectrum after the Wireless Planning and Co-ordination (WPC) Wing submits its report. This was announced by union minister for Communications and Information Technology Dayanidhi Maran while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function in the city.

 

Maran said the WPC was holding its consultation talks with the GSM and CDMA operations over the issue. "The Telecom policy of 1999 could handle the issues related to the 3G spectrum," he added.

Maran's target: 500 million connections in India by 2010

Inaugurating the new research and development facility of Tejas Networks, an optical networking products company, Maran said the government was looking at doubling the present monthly rate of two million new telephone connections being added to four million and achieving a target of 250 million connections in the next three years. This would mean addition of 150 million new connections over and above the current 100 million connections or so. This would also increase the tele-density from 10 per cent presently to 22 per cent.

 

Nortel would be adding around 10 million lines in South India by August 15, while BSNL would be adding 16 million lines by the end of the year.

He stated further that the total number of targeted connections would be 500 million by 2010. At current rates this would entail investments of at least $20 billion in infrastructure over the next few years.

Maran revealed further that at present the tele-density was just 1.7 per cent in the rural areas and 28 per cent in urban areas in India. USO funds would be utilised for creating passive telecom infrastructure in the rural areas, which could be utilized even by the private telecom operators.

Maran also announced that BSNL and MTNL had decided to incorporate a 20 per cent value addition clause for all supplies from global vendors, making it mandatory for them to undertake 20 per cent value addition from India. This was being done to ensure better service backup and was an indirect invitation for manufacturers including Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola and Nortel to setup facilities here.

However, he refused to discuss the status of the proposed MTNL-BSNL merger. During his short stay in the city, Maran took time to visit Electronics city at Bangalore also.

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