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BSNL introduces new services, Airtel rolls out DC upgrade in Delhi

17 Jan 2017

State-owned full service provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is continuing to ramp up its services to compete with its privately-owned competitors and has unveiled two new services, a mobile TV offering dubbed ‘Ditto TV’ and a limited fixed mobility service that uses an application to route calls through the customer’s landline whilst within their home. The Economic Times writes that the new mobility offer bypasses several legal and competition issues of its previous Fixed Mobile Telephony (FMT) plans. ‘The earlier service allowed customers on roaming in India and overseas to connect their landlines through mobile and make calls through them … But this service is restricted within the home premises,’ a spokesperson for the company explained, adding: ‘Landline subscribers find it inconvenient to fetch the contact details from mobiles and then dial the number on fixed line … This service will turn a mobile handset into a cordless device within the home premises, which means that customers can still avail the attractive landline tariffs of BSNL like free calls on Sundays and night time calling.’ Meanwhile, the Ditto TV service will cost customers INR20 (USD0.29) per month, but will also be bundled in certain packages, and includes over 80 channels, including a number in high definition (HD).

Further, BSNL is also expected to launch LTE services in the coming financial year (starting 1 April 2017), though a precise date could not be given yet. BSNL has issued a request for expressions of interest to roll out 4G services on a revenue sharing basis. Under its business model for the technology, BSNL plans to hand over its spectrum and facilities to a third party that would deploy and manage the LTE network.

In a related development, India’s largest cellco by subscribers, Bharti Airtel, has upgraded its 3G network infrastructure in Delhi with dual carrier (DC) technology, boosting data transfer rates to ‘4G-like’ speeds of up to 42Mbps. The upgrade uses two 5MHz carriers in the 2100MHz band to boost capacity and improve service quality.

India, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Bharti Airtel

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