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BSNL to cover entire Kolkata via WLL service

Our Bureau

KOLKATA, Dec. 27

BHARAT Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has launched the Wireless in Local Loop (WLL) service covering the entire 2,200-sq.km. area of Calcutta Telecom District (CTD).

Earlier, in August this year, the WLL service was launched in three areas of the city -- Joka, Barasat and Chandannagar -- by installing three base transmitting stations (BTS). Extending the WLL coverage to the entire CTD has been achieved with the addit ion of 13 more BTS.

Two types of customer terminals are on offer -- Fixed Wireless Terminal (FWT) and Hand Held Terminal (HHT). For the FWT, customers will have to pay the normal telephone rental and Rs 20 per month as insurance charge for the equipment that would be provid ed by BSNL.

For the HHT, however, customers would have to pay a deposit of Rs 10,000 for the CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) compatible handsets. Besides registration fees and activiation charges, a security deposit would be charged as well. The billing period would be monthly even as the rental would be Rs 450 per month. Local calls would be charged at the rate of Rs 1.20 for every three minutes. There would be no charges for the incoming calls.

The HHT initiative effectively means that a customer can use his instrument as a de facto cellular phone within the demarcated Short Distance Charging Area (SDCA).

As such, the radius within which the service would be available would cover the entire reach of cellular operators. This is expected to give the present cellular service providers a run for their money.

Speaking at a function held here to mark the inaugural call from a HHT, the Union Minister of State for Communications, Mr Tapan Sikdar, said the initiative would facilitate "healthy competition'' in the telecom arena.

He, however, was careful to draw a distinction between cellular mobile services and WLL services based on CDMA technology.

According to him, over a period of time, BSNL would take WLL and wireless telephony to the villages where there was an increasing demand for such services "thanks to the increasing purchasing power in rural India''.

The Minister said that by the year 2005, there would be very little difference in the cost of service in mobile and wireless telephony.

The Chief General Manager of Calcutta Telephones, Mr S.P. Chakraborty, unfolded plans to launch telecom services based on Voice Over Internet Protocol within the next one month. Other soon-to-be-introduced services include Direct Internet Access System a nd Voice Mail Service.

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