BSNL launches BlackBerry services


Chandigarh : State-run telecom major Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) Friday launched BlackBerry services in the country.

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“BlackBerry services bring together smart phones and software services to provide customers with easy wireless access to email, phone, web and multimedia applications,” BSNL chairman-cum-managing director Kuldeep Goyal told reporters here after the launch.

At present, four telecom operators – Reliance Communications, Airtel, Vodafone and Tata Teleservices – are providing BlackBerry services.

“This move will certainly strengthen our presence in the Indian telecom market. BSNL is providing BlackBerry solutions on 3G services for the first time in India,” Goyal added.

At present, BSNL has 72 million users all over the country and “our aim is to increase this figure to 80 million by the year-end”, he said.

Telecommunications Secretary Siddhartha Behura, who launched the services, said: “We expect good response from the market, especially from this region.”

Despite the overall economic slowdown, he remained optimistic about the telecom segment.

“At present, there are nearly 400 million telecom connections in the country and every month 10 million new connections are being added. Last year we added around 120 million new connections,” Behura said.

He said in India, telecom density is recorded at 35 percent till the end of February 2009. The number of broadband subscribers is around six million.

“However, these figures are below our set targets, as last year we had a target of reaching at 500 million telecom connections and 20 million broadband subscribers by the year-end,” Behura said.

BSNL has launched the BlackBerry services in collaboration with Canada-based Research In Motion (RIM), the manufacturers of the BlackBerry devices.

BlackBerry devices had earlier come under scrutiny after Indian security agencies expressed concern that the data being transmitted through the device could not be intercepted due to the high encryption codes being used by the company.

However, Canadian Minister of of Industry Tony Clement, after a meeting with Communications Minister A. Raja in February, had said the security concerns over the BlackBerry phones had been “resolved as far as possible”.