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Bharti expects 3G launch in Oct ‘10
Published on 3 Sep. 2009 11:55 PM IST
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Third generation (3G) telecom services are expected to be introduced in the country around October 2010, Bharti Airtel CEO Manoj Kohli said at a Qualcomm conference in the capital on Wednesday. That’s the deadline Bharti too is looking at, he said. Wireless technology developer Qualcomm is traditionally associated with the CDMA (code division multiple access) platform. However, according to DNA report, its chairman & CEO Paul E Jacobs shared the podium with Kohli, who represents the rival GSM (global system for mobile communications) players. 3G technology, which will enable fast access to data through internet on the mobile phone, may well be the motivation for the new bonding between the two camps. Interestingly, San Diego-based Qualcomm owns patents for technologies that can be applied to 3G in both GSM and CDMA platforms. Since CDMA majors Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices have now opted for pan-India 2G GSM services also, the upcoming 3G services are seen as a major opportunity for Qualcomm. According to Jacobs, India will witness a major shift from 2G to 3G platform, like in the case of South Korea and Japan. However, 2G will co-exist with 3G and 4G. “India is very well placed in 3G because of the strong IT (information technology) sector in the country,” he said, adding, after the rollout of 3G, 60% of broadband connections will be on the mobile phone. Kohli, on his part, said India’s mobile phone subscriber base will double from the current 500 million by 2015, riding on 3G technology. Assuming the 3G auction process is over by February-March of 2010, the commercial launch of 3G will be around October 2010, he said. Kohli harped on the affordability of 3G services.“We have to get more and more rural subscribers into our fold,” he said,”We have to get more and more rural subscribers into our fold,” he said, adding, rural India would take to 3G services if they are affordable and if they offer new applications. Applications are the most important aspect of 3G service, he said, pointing out that “3G didn’t pick up in the first decade in Europe because of absence of good content and application.” He expects India to be well-placed there. In the US, telecom players’ average revenue per user has grown 860% since 3G was introduced.

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