New Delhi: India has decided to delay the announcement of its policy for selection of firms offering what is called third-generation, or 3G, phone services until the Congress party-led government survives a vote of confidence in Parliament, after its Communist allies withdrew their support, a senior communications ministry official said. No date has been fixed for the vote but it is expected to be held in the coming weeks.
The development—the policy was expected to be ready by weekend—comes even as the department of telecommunications (DoT) considers changes in the policy which may ease the entry for foreign firms. The ministry official, who asked not to be identified, said telecom minister Andimuthu Raja may announce the policy personally if the government proves majority.
Faster data: A 3G service allows live video on cellphones. It’s not clear if 2G services will be allowed to companies that get 3G licences in India. ( Sanjit Das / Bloomberg)
A 3G service allows high-speed data access such as live video on cellphones.
Changes in the policy being made include a new licence for successful 3G bidders, who will be allowed to bid only if they have 3G operating experience, according to a DoT document reviewed by Mint.
It is not clear yet whether the new companies will be allowed to offer the current second-generation (2G) mobile phone services on a 3G licence. Allowing that will likely be challenged by 2G licence-aspirants but not doing so will result in standalone 3G services that are not sustainable, a New Delhi based telecom expert, asking not to be named, said. Companies such as AT&T Inc., Deutsche Telekom AG, Etisalat and NTT DoCoMo Inc. have expressed interest in the Indian market.