17 May : State-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) became the first operator to launch third generation (3G) mobile service in the city expecting to rope in one lakh customers by March next year.
"Our total investment for the 3G launch in Mumbai is Rs 250 crore and we hope to rope in one lakh customers by March next year. Connections will be available in about a month’s time," MTNL’s Chairman and Managing Director R S P Sinha told reporters in Mumbai.Sinha said that the company has built-up capcity to extend the service to 7.5 lakh subscribers, but due to unavailability of the required specturm, only four lakh customers could be served."We will launch the service in South and Central Mumbai currently. This will soon be expanded to other parts of the city, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan and Dombivali," Sinha said, adding that ITI/Alcatel-Lucent India was puting in place the necessary infrastructure.
The 3G service would enable customers to make video calls, view LIVE TV channels on their mobiles, download data from internet at speeds upto 2 mbps and songs among many otehr applications involving high-speed data downloads, he said.
MTNL has associated with Nokia which would provide 3G handset plus connection package.3G services require a 3G-enabled handset and a 3G U-SIM. Customers already having 3G enabled handsets would need to take MTNL 3G connection.
Existing MTNL customers can retain their mobile numbers by requesting the operator to upgrade the same number to 3G services, Sinha said.MTNL became the first 3G mobile service operator in the country launching in February in Delhi, the response so far has been lukeworm though.
Attempting not to receive better response from Mumbai, the company is offering a week’s free trail for prospecting customers in Mumbai.MTNL would offer four different packages for pre-paid as well as post-paid customers. Fixed monthly charges for the post-paid packages vary from Rs 250 to Rs 2,500.
It, however, indicated that the tariffs could be lowered provided the service receives good response.