New Delhi: Come January 2009 and you’ll be able to enjoy televison, video-streaming and movie downloads on your mobile phone. The government will finally be announcing the rules within a month for the roll out of 3G mobile technology, which supports higher voice capability and faster download speeds.
“Guidelines for 3G and Wimax will be announced by June and the roll out will start by January 2009 or end of December 2008,” said A Raja, Minister for Communications & IT, at the Global Telecom Summit organized by Assocham.
Not just Indian telecom companies, but foreign players also will be allowed to participate in the spectrum auction for these services, Raja said. While DoT favours entry of foreign players because of the additional revenue they would be bring in, TRAI had said their presence would seriously impact the telecom sector in terms of affordability.
Another reason for the delay in the announcement of the 3G policy was the delay in the release of spectrum by the defence forces.
Raja emphasized, “If there is common auction or open auction, there will be no bar. Up to 74% FDI is allowed in Indian telecoms firm, and these partnerships can also start 3G service. Either way foreign players will be allowed.”
While existing operators such as Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications are betting big on 3G and have the infrastructure capability, it will be a challenge for new telecom companies.
“I think it is advantageous to have 2G along with 3G. If the new players come together and roll out 2G and 3G together, they they will be able to build efficient networks. But building 3G on its own will be a challenge. We are looking at a collaborative framework with new players,” Dilip Modi, vice-chairman, Spice Corp. told this correspondent.
Seventy-three countries have 3G networks. In terms of devices, there are already a number of 3G handsets in the market. According to a report by Assocham-PwC, the efficiency of 3G technologies will allow telecom operators to reduce the cost of infrastructure substantially.