Indian government begins allocating 3G bandwidth

Sep 01, 2010
An Indian woman speaks on a phone in Allahabad in April 2010. India's government has begun allocating third-generation (3G) bandwidth for cellphone services to mobile operators after a multi-billion-dollar auction of licences.

India's government on Wednesday began allocating third-generation (3G) bandwidth for cellphone services to mobile operators after a multi-billion-dollar auction of licences.

The auction for high-speed 3G services raised 15 billion dollars for the government from successful bidders who included leading mobile companies Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Vodafone Essar, among others.

"We have started the allocation," a spokesman for the telecom ministry told AFP, declining to be identified.

The government had promised to start allocating 3G spectrum on September 1.

The government's auction of 3G bandwidth for cellphone services, which ended in May, saw the winning bids for 71 licences in 22 service areas soar to up to five times the original reserve price.

For at least the first year as 3G is rolled out, the main focus is expected to be on improving call quality. India's 2G spectrum is congested and, as well as serving high-end users, the 3G spectrum will also allow operators to free up bandwidth for more voice users.

3G uptake in India is expected to be slow in the initial stages as 3G handsets are costlier than second-generation handsets.

The country is following in the footsteps of fellow giant China, which started offering 3G services last year.

3G allows mobile phone users to surf the Internet, video conference and download music, video and other content at a much faster pace than the current second-generation service.

Analysts say India's rural areas offer huge market potential but rolling out infrastructure to support will be costly and the main, immediate battleground for 3G customers will be in urban areas.

For telecom firms the high bids reflect the importance of retaining an edge in the world's fastest growing , which has more than 636 million subscribers and has been adding up to 20 million customers a month.

Seven of India's 14 won the right to offer 3G services in different regions, but none managed to secure bandwidth in all 22 areas. Bharti and Reliance led the pack, securing 13 areas each in the bidding.

Companies are expected to form alliances so they can offer 3G service nationwide. State-owned telecom firms BSNL and MTNL were awarded 3G spectrum last year provided they matched the final auction price.

Explore further: Mobile provider TracFone to pay $40M in federal settlement

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

3G auction earns India 14.6 billion dollars

May 19, 2010

India's auction of 3G bandwidth for mobile telephone services ended Wednesday, with final bids earning the government close to 15 billion dollars -- double its own estimate.

India's billion-dollar 3G auction set to open

Apr 08, 2010

In an auction set to open Friday, India's mobile firms will bid billions of dollars to provide superfast third generation (3G) service in the country's booming cellular market.

India misses deadline for 3G auction

Dec 09, 2009

India's government has missed a deadline for inviting bidders to take part in its long-awaited auction for third generation (3G) mobile telecom services.

India 3G auction to be held on schedule: minister

Dec 11, 2009

India's long-awaited auction for third generation (3G) mobile telecom services will be held on schedule next month, a minister said Friday, dismissing media speculation of a delay.

Recommended for you

Google wireless service could disrupt carriers

Jan 27, 2015

Internet users from San Jose to Kansas City have been clamoring for Google to lay down its long-awaited fiber-optic network to compete with Comcast and AT&T in speeding up Web and television access. Now the Silicon Valley ...

Google super-fast US Internet service spreads

Jan 27, 2015

Google's super-fast Internet service—up to 100 times quicker than basic broadband—is heading for four more US metropolitan areas as the technology titan ramps up pressure on cable service giants.

Transmitting wireless data on higher frequencies

Jan 27, 2015

Everything we do that requires a wireless connection uses the radio spectrum. We're able to harness radio waves to listen to music in the car or stream Netflix from the 4G network on our smartphones. Each ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.