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August 12, 1998
Disputes over Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited's proposal to offer cellular services are to be resolved by September-end. This will allow it to offer cellular services by March 1999, MTNL Chairman and Managing Director S Rajgopalan said today.
Rajgopalan revealed this while commissioning a digital electronic exchange in the International Infotech Park at the Vashi Railway Complex near Bombay.
Rajgopalan said that to keep pace with technology, MTNL is positioning itself through modernisation and expansion of its network at an estimated cost of Rs 27 billion for the current fiscal and Rs 100 billion for the next five years.
The expected annual growth of MTNL would be around 14 per cent with such investments, he said.
Rajgopalan said that besides the availability of modern services like voice mail service, pager, I-Net, data communication and integrated digital network, MTNL would be venturing into new services like intelligent networking, email, Internet connectivity, wire in local loop and fibre in local loop besides cellular telephony.
"There are sufficient areas of information technology that MTNL could enter into and we are ready to take on any competition. We had promised our investors, both foreign and domestic, that we would expand our activities in modern technology and equipment such as cellular telephones and give them the returns on their investment. At the same time, we have a special relation with the government because of its ownership (56 per cent holding) and they think MTNL must act as a third force in telecommunication field," he said.
For 1998-99, MTNL Bombay has itself an ambitious target of augmenting the existing equipped capacity by 305,000 lines and to provide 250,000 new telephones subject to the growth of the waiting list, roughly about 29,000 lines were added during the first quarter of the year.
MTNL, which accounts for nearly 25 per cent of the market share of the national telecom network, has been increasing the telephone lines at the rate of 250,000 per year.
To avoid frequent digging of roads to lay the underground cables, MTNL has planned extensive network of ducts in the city and to date, more than 825 kilometres of ducts network has already been constructed, he claimed.
There is a plan to induct 50,000 lines in Bombay based on the WILL technology that has higher bandwidth and reliability.
The induction of WILL and FILL would solve the last mile problem of the network.
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