M. Dinesh Varma
CHENNAI: CellOne subscribers in Chennai could be the first in south India to have a taste of 3G mobile telephony with BSNL Chennai Telephones preparing to roll out next generation communications in February.
A technical team of Chinese 3 G terminal vendor Huawei Technologies is currently engaged in installing the infrastructure to support the first tranche of 1.5 lakh 3G lines that would transform the way mobile users access the web.
The projected speeds on the 3G platform are said to be at least 30 times faster than 2G technology.
Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi is slated to soft launch 3G services possibly in February first week and the likely dates are being worked out.
According to plan, 3G services would initially be available to CellOne subscribers in Chennai before the rollout is extended to other major cities and towns in the State.
Meanwhile, reports from Delhi indicate that the auctioning of spectrum has been deferred a few weeks beyond the already revised date of January 30 to enable the Centre to fix a higher reserve price for spectrum bands.
Private mobile operators have been demanding a level playing field for launching 3G to negate any early mover advantage that BSNL and MTNL might get.
It is unclear as of now as to how long the telecom department proposes to put the technology on trial before going commercial.
The logistics for ringing in 3 G services featuring high-speed data, video and voice transmission involves setting up an additional 1,000 base transceiver station towers. This would go hand-in-hand with the ongoing drive to augment the 2G network through the commissioning of another 2 lakh lines.