India's Tata Ready for 3G Launch

After umpteen delays during the past few years, but only months after the country's spectrum auction, India is about to welcome a 3G services launch by a private operator. (See India's 3G Auction Ends, Raises $14.6B.)

Tata DoCoMo, the GSM subsidiary of Tata Teleservices Ltd. , is ready to offer its 3G services starting November 5, when Diwali (festival of lights) is celebrated in India.

It will be the first privately owned mobile operator to join state-owned carriers Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL) in the 3G services market. (See Tata Eyes India's 3G Gold Medal .)

Tata DoCoMo, which will market its new services under the brand name "3G Life," is launching its services in all nine circles (service areas) where it has 3G spectrum -- Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh (including Chhatisgarh), Rajasthan, Gujarat, UP (West), Punjab, Haryana, and Maharashtra.

"We have cherry-picked the best telecom circles in the country from the perspective of cumulative market potential for our 3G services," says Anil Sardana, managing director of Tata Teleservices.

"We will cover 51 percent of Indian towns with a population of over a million and 60 percent of towns that have over half-a-million people. Additionally, our footprint covers 55 percent of households with an annual income of over 300,000 Indian rupees [US$6,767] and 49 percent of households in the SEC [socioeconomic classes] A+B category. All these parameters provide us with fantastic market reach and potential," adds Sardana.

The operator's 3G services will include video SMS, video streaming, mobile TV, and a "Route Finder" application. However, no tariffs have yet been announced, though the operator says its 3G services will be free to all users for the first seven days.

The operator, which is working with Nokia Networks and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. on its 3G rollout, says its HSPA+ network will support mobile broadband speeds of up to 21.1 Mbit/s. (See Tata Goes 3G With NSN.)

Being a new operator -- Tata DoCoMo launched its GSM services just over a year ago -- it took care to build its network with a 3G upgrade in mind, giving it a head start over its peers. (See Tata GSM Services Go Live.)

The involvement of NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) in the operation has also helped, as the Japanese giant has 10 years of 3G experience. (See NTT Takes $2.7B Stake in Tata.)

Tata DoCoMo will soon be joined in the 3G market by other private operators that are set to launch their services during the coming months. (See Bharti Plans Pan-India 3G Launch This Year , Vodafone Unveils India 3G Timeline , Aircel Earmarks $500M for 3G, and Reliance Sets Out Its 3G Stall.)

— Gagandeep Kaur, India Editor, Light Reading

Gagandeep Kaur 12/5/2012 | 4:19:12 PM
re: India's Tata Ready for 3G Launch

Tata's 3G services went live in 20 cities on November 5...surprisingly mostly in small cities. The cities where 3G services have been launched are Rajkot, Bharuch, Ambala, Karnal, Panipat, Thanesar, Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula, Jalandhar, Patiala, Bhopal, Udaipur, Kota, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Roorkee, Modinagar, Shridi and Bangalore. Out of these, Bangalore and Chandigarh are the two big cities, others are tier III cities...

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