Ushering in a new era in the Indian telecom sector, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday launched the state-run Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd's (MTNL) third generation (3G) mobile service 'Jaadu' here.
Communications and IT Minister A. Raja, who was also present on the occasion, made a video call, demonstrating the capabilities of 3G services.
Launching the services, the prime minister said: “I congratulate MTNL and the communications minister for launching the 3G service.”
“Competition has to be the major propeller of the Indian economy and it has to be a sustainable one,” he said while demonstrating the mobile TV facility available with 3G services.
“However, effective objective and impartial regulations have to be an integral part of all these processes for investors to invest further,” he added.
Added Raja: “BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd) and MTNL have already been allotted 3G and broadband wireless access spectrum with a view to ensuring early rollout of 3G and Wi-max services in the country."
While MTNL has rolled out its 3G services only in Delhi Thursday, BSNL will launch its services in Chennai next month.
Talking about the revenues generated through licensing fees and sale of spectrum, Raja said: "After migrating to revenue sharing regime, this sector has contributed Rs.500 billion (Rs.50,000 crore) through licence fee, entry fee and spectrum charges till the end of last financial year."
"During this financial year alone, it is expected that about Rs.160 billion (Rs.16,000 crore) will be collected from the licence fee and the spectrum charges,” he added.
The minister also said mobile number portability (MNP) would be implemented in metros and category A circle by the middle of 2009 and the entire country by end of next year.
MNP will enable mobile users to retain their telephone numbers when changing from one network to another.
“This will promote competition among service providers,” he added.
Indo-Asian News Service