The state-owned telecommunication operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) on Friday said that it will float a mega tender for 93 million GSM lines Sep 10.
"We will float a mega tender for 93 million lines worth $9 billion (Rs 405 billion)," BSNL chief managing director Kuldeep Goyal told reporters.
GSM stands for global system for mobile communications and is the most popular standard for mobile phones around the world.
It was developed by Groupe Spécial Mobile (GSM), which was created in 1982 by the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT).
"Of the 93 million lines, 25 per cent will be set aside for 3G telephony," Goyal said.
3G stand for third generation mobile phone technology which offers much faster communications.
It also allows users a wide range of other benefits such as high-speed Internet access, video calls, fast music and video downloads, interactive gaming and global positioning over the Internet.
"We will start our roll out of 3G services in the northern and eastern zones by December this year," he said. "Orders have already been placed to procure equipment required for the roll out.
"We hope to receive the equipment from Ericsson by December," a company official earlier told IANS.
BSNL along with Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) was given a head-start by the department of Telecom to roll out 3G services in the country.
While the private telecom companies have to acquire 3G spectrum through a process of bidding, both the public sector units have already been allotted spectrum on a pro-rata basis.
BSNL officials, however, said that the perception that the state-run companies will get a head start of three to four months over private players due to the government norms was misplaced.
"The procedures we have to follow for buying technology or equipment are time-consuming because we are a state-run company. So whatever time we have in hand will be taken away by that," the official said.