New Delhi: State-owned telecom company MTNL plans to invest about 400 crore to increase 3G mobile Internet speed by up to six times, and enhance the coverage of 2G network.

“We have floated tender for enhancing 2G and 3G coverage in National Capital Region (NCR). Under this project, we are working to enhance maximum speed of 3G Internet by six times. The total project is estimated to cost us 400 crore," MTNL chairman and managing director A.K. Garg told PTI.

At present, the maximum speed of data download on MTNL’s 3G networks based on HSDPA technology is about 3.6 megabit per second (mbps). It plans to increase that to 21.1 mbps by using HSPA+ technology.

At the current speed a user is able to download a 600 MB file, equivalent to a Bollywood movie, in around 24 minutes. At 21 mbps, the same file can be downloaded in 4 minutes.

However, the downloads depend on a lot of other factors such as the server location, number of subscribers using network at a time and throughput capability of the website.

Under the project, MTNL has plans to install about 1,500 base stations (mobile towers) for 2G services, and about 2,000 sites for 3G coverage. “We will have 750 BTS (mobile tower) each in Delhi and Mumbai for 2G coverage and 1,000 nodes for 3G coverage. The only issue that we are facing is availability of locations for installing BTS. We are looking for interest from people who want to get BTSs installed at their premise," Garg said.

Nokia Solutions and Networks, Alcatel Lucent, Huawei and ZTE are in race for the project, he said, adding that their bids are undergoing technical evaluations and the vendor for the project will be finalized by end of this month.

MTNL has over 4.2 million mobile subscribers and all the connections are 3G enabled.