Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited plans to erect an additional 300 communication towers across Chennai as part of the roadmap for ringing in 3G or third-generation wireless technology in mobile telephony.Widely tipped to revolutionise lifestyle, 3G technology has features such as enhanced multimedia (voice, data and video), high speed browsing, email and video-conferencing.

There are already 590 BSNL towers in Chennai to provide seamless connectivity under the GSM Project in Chennai, which has the highest tele-density of 82.92 per cent in the country as of November, 2006.

The sites for the additional towers have already been identified for Chennai Telephones’ target of sanctioning 7 lakh additional mobile connections under a Rs. 380-crore project, which also covers acquisition of equipment, maintenance and land-logistics.

Though 3G networks were to be commissioned in the country by the middle of this year, the introduction of the advanced technology has hit a legal roadblock after one of the private telecom vendors went to court during the final phase of the tender process.

It appears that establishment of 3G networks is likely to be delayed by a few months pending a ruling by the Delhi High Court. The BSNL tenders had attracted bids from several majors, including Ericsson, Motorola and a joint bid by Nokia and Siemens.

An optimistic forecast for the implementation of 3G networks is December, as officials estimate that it would take at least five months after the placement of orders to install equipment and commission the facility.

The BSNL’s technology roadmap for the next few years foresees a mix of its existing 2.5G and the state-of-the-art 3G networks on its GSM network.

The ratio of allocations for 3G will be increased each year and touch 75 per cent by 2009.

More towers are also proposed across Tamil Nadu. At least 1,000 new towers would be erected in the State with a focus on enhancing rural connectivity.

The aim is to have a tower for every 1,000 of the rural population.