State-run telcos BSNL and MTNL are working to improve their services and coverage in the country. According to Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the telcos are adding about 28,300 mobile sites for this purpose. BSNL and MTNL are also focussing on improving 2G and 3G data coverage.
"To improve coverage and data speed, BSNL is augmenting its network by adding IP-based 10,502 new Node Bs (3G antenna) and 14,263 base transceiver stations (generally for 2G) in the network as part of phase 7 expansion plan," says telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in a written reply to Lok Sabha.
MTNL, which recently turned profitable, is set to install 3,526 mobile sites for improving 2G and 3G coverage in Delhi and Mumbai. "MTNL is augmenting network by adding 1,080 Node-Bs and 800 BTSs in Delhi and 1,080 Node-Bs and 566 BTSs in Mumbai," Prasad adds.
"BSNL and MTNL are also upgrading their existing high speed downlink packet access 3G network supporting download speed of 3.6Mbps and upload speed of 384kbps to support high speed packet access with download speed of 21.1Mbps and upload speed of 5.76Mbps per sector in each node-B," he further says.
BSNL and MTNL have lagged behind the private telecom players in terms of wireless broadband subscribers. According to the latest TRAI figures, private telcos held 89.56% of the wireless subscriber market share while BSNL and MTNL held just 10.44% market share.
Recently, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said improving BSNL's functioning was one of the top priorities of the government. "The condition of BSNL is not very healthy at all. It is priority area of government to improve the functioning of BSNL. There is need for a lot of improvement," he is quoted as saying.
Despite having the government backing, the state run telecom operators apparently haven't tapped in the Indian market – which is one of the largest smartphone markets in the world. Poor coverage and ordinary customer service have been among main factors customers switching to the private players.
Do you think BSNL and MTNL can compete with private telecom operators? What other factors you think have led to dismal condition of the state-run telcos? Let us know your views in the comments section below: