Tata Eyes India's 3G Gold Medal

8:35 AM -- The race to be the first privately owned mobile operator in India to launch 3G services is nearing the finishing line, with Tata Teleservices Ltd. likely to take the gold medal by launching its services in the first week of November, according to a press statement from the operator.

The company's GSM subsidiary, Tata DoCoMo, is planning to simultaneously launch services in all nine circles (service areas) where it has 3G spectrum, and is timing the launch to coincide with Diwali (the festival of lights, November 5), which is believed to be an auspicious time for new beginnings. (See Tata Rolls Out GSM as Tata DoCoMo.) Nokia Networks and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , didn't say anything about the kind of 3G services that would be available, or any pricing schemes. (See India's 3G Auction Ends, Raises $14.6B, India Gets Its 3G On, and Tata Wins 3G Spectrum.)

The other operators are not far behind, with Reliance Communications Ltd. saying it will be one of the early launchers of 3G services in the country, according to The Economic Times. (See Reliance Hands 3G Deal to ZTE.)

Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) and Aircel Ltd. , on the other hand, are planning their 3G launches by the end of the current year. (See Aircel Earmarks $500M for 3G and More 3G Action in India.)

India's privately held operators participated in a 3G spectrum auction earlier this year, and are now playing catchup with the country's two state-owned operators, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL) , which have had their 3G spectrum for almost two years.

— Gagandeep Kaur, India Editor, Light Reading

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