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BSNL & MTNL To Offer GLONASS Satellite Navigation System


Russia’s NIS Glonass is partnering with the state owned telecom service provider BSNL and MTNL to offer its satellite-based navigation service GLONASS (Globalnaya Navigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema), reports The Economic Times.

Citing an internal note 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.

This follows a Hindu Business Line report, earlier this week, which had suggested that the Russian conglomerate Sistema was looking to partner BSNL to offer the satellite-based Glonass navigation service. The report had suggested that BSNL will initially test the service in a pilot project before commercially launching the service.

Founded in 2007, NIS Glonass 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.

Compatibility: It’s worth noting that Sony’s Xperia phones and Apple’s iPhone 4S already supports GLONASS navigation system while Nokia had stated in November 2011, that it plans to use GLONASS navigation system in its forthcoming phones. We are not sure if Nokia has already added support for Glonass system in any of its phones. 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.

Partnerships: In March 2010, NIS GLONASS had 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.

Following this, the company had 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.

NIS Glonass India: In November 2011, NIS Glonass had stated its plans to open Indian offices and product showrooms in Mumbai, Delhi, and Chandigarh in Q1 2012 and had stated that its Indian operations will be headed by Vladimir Finov, as indicated by a Voice and Data report. The company CEO Alexander Gurko had stated to the publication that the Indian office will focus on central government, state government, police and utility projects and it was looking to participate in various government projects related to passenger information system, fleet management system, and police modernization.

Ten months later, the company had setup its first showroom in Mumbai, as indicated by a Russia & India report. Igor Kuznetsov, NIS Glonass’s Deputy Chief Designer had stated that the company was looking to develop an accident and emergency response system in the country, similar to its ERA-GLONASS project in Russia, through which it intends to transmit a vehicle’s exact location coordinates to an emergency response center, in case of serious accidents. The company claims to have implemented this solution across the entire vehicle fleet in Russia (40 million vehicles) and all roads in the country.