Tata to launch GSM, BlackBerry services (Roundup)

August 9th, 2008 - 9:58 pm ICT by IANS  

By Pupul Dutta
Agra, Aug 9 (IANS) Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL), one of the leading telecom players in CDMA sector, will launch GSM services early next year and BlackBerry push-email services in three months, a top official said Saturday. “The company will invest $2 billion for setting up nationwide services on GSM network over the next two years,” TTSL managing director Anil Sardana told reporters.

“BlackBerry soft launch is already done. For official launch, the company is waiting for logistics arrangement, which should be done before year end,” he added.

The company had earlier this year made public its intention to offer the push-email services in collaboration with Research in Motion (RIM), the makers of BlackBerry phones.

“We have been told that the BlackBerry services do not have scope for lawful interception, may be because it does not have a server in India and it may be difficult to monitor the content,” Sardana had said then.

Presently, Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Reliance and BPL Mobile are offering BlackBerry services.

RIM later assured the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) that it would sort out the BlackBerry tangle by initiating discussions between security agencies of Canada and India.

TTSL, which currently has 27 million subscribers and expects 40 million customers in its subscriber base by the end of this year, has already acquired spectrum for GSM services in south India.

“We have licence for six circles including Andhra Pradesh, Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, where we will be launching GSM services by fiscal 2009,” he said.

The company will also roll out services in Orissa and Kerala, the other two circles where it has acquired the spectrum.

Recently, Reliance Infocom, Tata’s main competitor in the CDMA space, has launched GSM services as part of a pilot project in Delhi. Reliance has acquired licenses to operate GSM services in 14 circles last year.

Speaking about mobile number portability (MPP), Sardana said: “we are in favour of the policy as we believe this will give a boost to our business.”

MNP, if implemented, will enable subscribers to change their operators while retaining their numbers.

Speaking about the recently released 3G guidelines and the upcoming start of the auctioning process, he said the company will offer a number of value-added services (VAS) like multi-casting, high speed web browsing, voice over internet protocol (VoIP), video streaming using the 3G technology.

The company which was last month in the news for a dispute with the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) over non-payment of access deficit charge (ADC), expects its revenue to grow to Rs.250 million with 50,000 broadband customers in 2008-09.

“The case is now in the purview of the Supreme Court and hence remains sub-judice,” Sardana said.

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