BSNL, MTNL and Russia's NIS Glonass Mulling over Tie-up to Launch India's Own Satellite Navigation System

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BSNL, MTNL and Russia's NIS Glonass Mulling over Tie-up to Launch India's Own Satellite Navigation System

The day is not far away, when India will launch its very own satellite-based navigation system. This can be said as recently, the nation will shortly confirm on a three way tie up between leading telcos including BSNL, MTNL and Russia-based satellite navigation player NIS Glonass. 

The international service provider is partnering with the state owned telecoms to offer its satellite-based navigation service GLONASS (Globalnaya Navigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema), according to The Economic Times report.

Referring to an internal document from the telecom department, the report states that a draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) is currently being considered between NIS Glonass, BSNL and MTNL, although the details of this partnership remained undisclosed. Also, there is no word on whether this navigation service will work in the country.

“Such a partnership would definitely be beneficial for all,” said Vladimir Finov, Managing Director of NIS GLONASS’ India operations in the report. “BSNL can expand their user-base and provide additional value added services for their clients, in various sectors such as insurance, Passenger Information Systems as a part of Intelligent Transport Systems and even in areas like security and surveillance.”

NIS Glonass was established in 2007 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of a Russian public–private venture Navigation Information Systems, who has shareholders like Sistema which owns 70.01% of the company’s stake and Russian Space Systems which owns the remaining 29.99% stake. In 2009, the company was appointed by the Russian government to be the national navigation services provider.

In March 2010, NIS GLONASS also signed an Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) to set up a working group to establish and incorporate a joint venture with ISRO’s commercial subsidiary Antrix to offer navigation and information services on the GLONASS platform.

The service company had further inked an agreement with DIMTS (Delhi Integrated Multimodal Transit System) in November 2010, to form a consortium to participate in tenders to build Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and traffic management solutions for Indian metropolitan cities. It had also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Kerala State Electronic Development Corporation Limited (KELTRON) to conduct a pilot project in Kerala and jointly participate in state government tenders. Further, the company website also suggests that it was in talks with Maharashtra State Police to develop a vehicle control and operational communications system.

Besides government projects, it had also signed a contract with the Hyderabad-based HBL Power Systems in August 2010, to provide satellite navigation systems to keep track of the company’s vehicles and promote Glonass system in India.

GLONASS navigation system is also supported by Sony Xperia phones and Apple’s iPhone 4S, on the other hand, Nokia reportedly is in works to use GLONASS navigation system in its upcoming series. As per a Medianama report, “in December 2011, Qualcomm had stated that mobile phones featuring its Snapdragon S2, Snapdragon S3 and Snapdragon S4 processors are capable of accessing the GLONASS system.”

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