State-run cellco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) said yesterday it will roll out four million new GSM connections in northern states as part of a plan to expand its network capacity to 16 million by the end of this year. The rollout, using equipment supplied by Finnish vendor Nokia, will start in Jammu and Kashmir, and will be extended to several other regions shortly after. BSNL, which has a mobile presence in 21 of India’s 23 circles, recently announced plans with Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) to jointly place orders for 40 million GSM connections by mid-2006. Nokia has recently revealed that it is setting up a base station manufacturing plant in the southern city of Chennai, also the site of its proposed handset production operation.
Elsewhere this week, BSNL signed bilateral service agreements with six international carriers for the routing of international long-distance calls. The company also revealed plans to launch international long-distance services directly to 23 countries and introduce nationwide broadband services.