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New Delhi, Mar 14 (PTI) Come June, around 80,000 Indian Air Force personnel would be provided with high-end mobile phones in a move aimed at ensuring that they remain connected with their bases round-the-clock through an exclusive 3G wireless service.In the first phase of the Rs 300 crore programme, the latest HCL-made handsets would be given to all officers and air warriors up to the rank of Sergeant in the over 1.5 lakh-strong service.”Reaping payoffs of the AFNET (Air Force Network) launched last year, air warriors will remain connected at all times by the IAF’s exclusive Wideband CDMA-based 3G portable wireless network, to be made operational in June,” IAF officials said here.”This will help connectivity of each individual with the system and enable cross connectivity with other communication platforms like IP-based communication within AFNET,” they added.With the handset, likely to cost around Rs 16-17,000, IAF personnel would be able to communicate through a secure network enabling voice, data, video streaming and file sharing, enhancing real-time operational efficiency.In the first phase, the network will be operational in Delhi area within six months and in the second phase, the network will be in place for all remaining IAF establishments across the country by 2013.”The 3G network with transportable mobile base stations will also enable communications even from remote locations,” they said.On whether the personnel would be able to interact with civilian networks, officials said they would be able to do so through service telephone exchanges.

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