Beginning next weekend, people in Mangalore, Udupi and Manipal will be able to browse the net and transfer data at high speed using a BSNL data card.

Principal General Manager of Dakshina Kannada Telecom District Y.C. Mishra assures a speed of 2 mbps - 14 times faster than the speed being offered now. This will come at a cost of Rs. 650 a month for unlimited usage, both in terms of time and quantity of data downloaded. At present, BSNL is offering NICs (network interface cards) with an access speed of 144 kbps. Both the cards are inserted into the USB port of laptops or desktops.

Mr. Mishra said that the new plug and play cards would be known as EVDO (Evolution Data Optimised or EvolutionData Only) cards, he said.

These cards are compliant with third generation mobile telecommunications standards called CDMA2000.

According to a tariff card made available to The Hindu, the BSNL here is offering NIC cards with a maximum speed of 144 kbps at a monthly charge of Rs. 350. The card is available on rent for Rs. 150 a month. It can be purchased for Rs. 2,500.

The new EVDO card can be purchased for Rs. 3,500 or taken on rent for Rs. 200 a month. Mr. Mishra said that the new card could be used anywhere in the State. BSNL would offer State roaming facility, without any additional charge unlike the existing NIC cards. For NIC cards, customers were expected to pay Rs. 100 a month for roaming facility in every telecom district of the State (Dakshina Kanna Telecom district covers Udupi district also). The official, however, pointed out that once the customer went out of Mangalore, Udupi, Manipal, and their suburbs, the access speed would come down to 144 kbps.

Banking on the “huge demand” for NIC cards, Mr. Mishra hoped that about 1,500 EVDO cards could be sold in Mangalore, Udupi and Manipal within the first one month of the launch of the service.He said the cards would be available at BSNL seva kendras by next weekend.

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