"BSNL's Cellular service will be truly a common man's mobile with affordable prices and service excellence being its hallmark," said Prithipal Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, BSNL. "CellOne cellular services from BSNL will cover about 850 towns and cities in semi urban and rural areas by December 25 this year."

Ericsson is providing the mobile infrastructure and associated equipment and services for new mobile networks in northern and eastern India that include the key states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

"The BSNL GSM contract has required project performance of the highest caliber,'' said Jan Campbell, Managing Director, Ericsson India Pvt Ltd. "We are proud to be associated with this project in the North and East zones."

BSNL launched its nation-wide cellular service in ceremonies at which the first inaugural mobile phone call was made by India's honorable Prime Minister, Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee.