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October 30, 1998


Intel presents the future of business computing

Two is competition: One phone call from a Hughes Ispat network breaks decades of telecom monopoly over the commercial capital. Hughes Ispat Limited, the company with the licence to provide basic telephony services in the Maharashtra telecom circle, inaugurated its network at Turbhe in New Bombay today.

Email this story to a friend. This is the first time that the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited, the government telephone monopoly, will face competition.

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Maharashtra Chief Minister Manohar Joshi inaugrated the network by making the first call to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New Delhi.

Union Minister of State for Communications Kabindra Purkayastha and Deputy Chief Minister Gopinath Munde were also present at the inauguration on the company's premises.

HIL will invest Rs 84 billion over the next five years in the network, that is being billed India's largest in the private sector.

HIL plans several value-added services for corporations, public call offices and residential customers, says President and CEO Raju Patel.

A combination of wireless and fibre technologies and high-capacity digital switching system support the operations that will begin from Worli in Bombay and Pune.

HIL expects to commission over half a million lines in the next three years. These are expected to increase to over three million lines in the next 15 years to cover the states of Maharashtra and Goa.

Patel said ''Our constant endeavour as a private service provider would be to give the people of Maharashtra and Goa a world-class service backed by a 24-hour customer service centre staffed by trained, customer-friendly professionals who are empowered to take decisions."

Patel explained that with an aim to improve the telecommunications density in the country, telecom services were privatised in 1993-94.

HIL was awarded a 15-year license by the government to build and operate a telecommunications network in the states of Maharashtra and Goa.

"The telecommunication sector is eagerly awaiting the central government's new telecom policy that would be followed by a series of new developments," he informed.

The small state-of-the-art digital switch from Nippon Electric Company of Japan is a generation ahead of the technology available with MTNL and the Department of Telecommunications, consumes less power with almost no failure rate, Patel claimed. It has the capacity to commission 100,000 lines within the given space. In the first phase 30,000 lines would be commissioned, he added.

With the wireless facility, the problem of laying of telephone cables and disruption of telephone services during monsoon would be non-existent, Patel pointed out. Instead, to start with, the exchanges would be linked to four towers to be set up in New Bombay, out which Turbhe and Airoli have been commissioned and the Taloja and Parse hill towers would be commissioned soon, Patel said.

Each tower would take care of an area within the radius of three to five kilometres and hence the maintenance task would be easier.

Transmission would also be enhanced as the optical fibre goes directly under the 'digital line concentrator', or DLC.

Patel said the tariff, deposit and call charges would be the same as MTNL.

Mackenzie, Essar and Siemens are among the 200 to 400 customers of the Turbhe exchange that would be operational from November 1, Patel added.

Speaking after the inauguration, Chief Minister Manohar Joshi said that Maharashtra is the best destination for investment in India and assured full co-operation by the state government for the private sector to set up their businesses in the state.

However, the private sector should also fulfil the needs of the local people by reserving at least 80 per cent of jobs for locals in their companies.

He hoped that healthy competition between MTNL and HIL would lead to improving telecom services in Bombay.

Munde, congratulated the Ispat group for investing in the state. Purkayastha said that apart from HIL, Bharti Telecom had started a similar private sector telecom project in Madhya Pradesh and such private participation would help improve telecommunication services.


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