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3G may reach India shores in second half of 2007, stakeholders cautiously optimistic

28-September-2006
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3G may reach India shores in second half of 2007, stakeholders cautiously optimistic

Minister of Communications & Information Technology, Dayanidhi Maran, on Wednesday said that 3G services were expected to be launched by the second half of next year. “India will no more remain isolated from the 3G wave, keeping in tune with Korea and Japan in the Asia-Pacific region, where 3G services have already been launched,” Maran said while speaking at a seminar on ‘3G India: Redefining Mobility’, organised by the Hindustan Times in the Capital on September 27, 2006.

Maran further said that keeping in view the Indian conditions, telecom services in India would continue to remain voice-centric for bulk growth. “Technologically, one may conceivably view 3G as an overlay on the 2G network. However, 3G networks are not mere upgrades of 2G networks; rather, entirely new networks need to be built and frequencies need to be assigned to mobile operators. Conceptually, however, the distinction needs to be made that for India, at least, 3G cannot be perceived as an automatic extension of 2G or 2.5G and would need to be viewed as kind of stand-alone service for specialized needs. The spectrum requirement for 3G would, therefore, have to operate on its own merit in a scarce and competitive environment.”

Speaking at the seminar, R S P Sinha, Chairman and MD, MTNL assured that the telecom company was ready to roll out 3G in Mumbai and Delhi as and when the government allowed the service. “3G will generate additional revenue for operators. It will ensure better user experience as downloading a 1MB will take 20 seconds instead of 4.5 minutes as under 2G,” he added.

Appealing to TRAI to take a long-term view on spectrum allocation, Umang Das, MD, Spice Telecom, said, “The regulator should look at tomorrow, when new players will demand spectrum.”

Giving his own take of 3G, Das said, “Gana Bajana (video, music), gup-shup (chatting) and gyan (infotainment) will be the key services under 3G.”

Nikhil Jain, Chief Technological Advisor, Qualcomm, said, “For many, mobile will become their first computer. Consumers will be able to perform several computer-specific functions on their mobile phones due to its ubiquity.”

Elaborating on the opportunities that 3G would create in coming days, Jain said, “BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless) application from Qualcomm will lead to a cottage industry of the future in developing handset-related software when 3G arrives. Network upgradation cost will also fall substantially under 3G.”

Raju Sastry, Technology Marketing Manager, Nokia India, said, “As per our experience in other countries, browsing will be the killer application under 3G. E-mail, search, infotainment, instant messaging will be the dominating 3G applications.”

Hemant Sachdev, Director, Marketing and Communication, Bharti Airtel Ltd, said, “A 3G user will be like ‘a kid in a candy store’ who can enjoy all multi-media functionality within a single device. Community marketing services like sharing pictures, video and files, P2P games, chat and instant messaging, and video sharing will get a push under 3G.”

Sanjay Behl, Head, Branding and Marketing, Reliance Communications, said, “3G will encourage next generation marketing mix like mobile marketing, which is largely untapped at present.”

“Consumers are not so much in a hurry to grab 3G as hyped by everybody. We have to concept sell 3G. Without creating overexpectations, we have to deliver faultlessly,” cautioned Abdul Khan, VP & Head, Tata Teleservices.

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