India 3G: BSNL Hits 1M

2:10 PM -- After what seems like an endless stream of negative news, state-owned Indian operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) , which operates across the whole of India (except Delhi and Mumbai), finally has some good news to impart. The carrier's chairman and managing director, Kuldeep Goyal, says the company's 3G service has reached a significant milestone.

"There has been an uptake in 3G services in the last few months, and we have crossed the 1 million mark recently," Goyal tells Light Reading Asia.

Along with sister state-owned operator Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL) (which operates in Delhi and Mumbai), BSNL was given 3G spectrum in late 2008, and launched 3G services in January 2009. That gave the two operators a headstart on their privately held rivals, which are only just about to bid for their 3G spectrum in the coming auction.

However, the initial response to BSNL's 3G services offering was lukewarm at best, with just 400,000 customers by October last year. Then the operator started offering 3G services to prepaid subscribers and brought down the prices as well, spurring a surge in demand.

— Gagandeep Kaur, India Editor, Light Reading

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