Wednesday, January 26, 2011

VODA lagging behind in 3G...

Hoards of people are waiting for 3G – and a significant majority are waiting for affordable 3G(Telcos, please take note). But that’s not the point here. Only 2 private operators have rolled out 3G services as of now – and even that has had regulatory hiccups – for now though there is a status quo until the end of July. But there has been positive movement too in the last few weeks. Telecom service providers are busy chalking out deals with each other to ensure Pan India 3G availability on their respective networks. Recently Aircel too announced that it will be rolling out 3G services in the next 45-60 days.
Airtel, which was supposed to have launched 3G services by the end of the year, but had to postpone it has now hinted that 3G could be on its way soon. Reported by ET, Bharti Airtel CEO Sanjay Kapoor told the Press Trust of India that the company would be making an announcement about the commercial launch of 3G in the ‘next six to seven days’. Airtel won spectrum in 13 of the 22 telecom circles and is reportedly partnering with Idea and Vodafone to ensure a national footprint. Between the 3 of them they cover all circles except Orissa.
Postscript : Looks like the reports were true, Airtel has indeed launched 3G in southern Karnataka today and will complete the rollout by the end of March. The Airtel website does not have tariff’s up yet – except for some mobile specific plans. FoneArena is reporting some tariffs which are, well, pretty steep! Understandably people aren’t very thrilled – twitter search.
While DoCoMo, the first out of the blocks with 3G services has announced that parts of North Karnataka too will now have 3G coverage (Hubli, Dharward and Belgaum to be precise). There is plenty of buzz on twitter as far as 3G is concerned. From tweets claiming that all 3G signals are live in Pune to ones that say Airtel’s press conference in Bangalore today will see the launch of 3G services in Bangalore. Several people are also claiming to have received text messages from service providers about the arrival of 3G services. I got one from Vodafone on 19th January. Still no official announcement though. There are also reports that Idea is testing its 3G signal in Kerala. It had said, back in December, that it would begin its 3G rollout with Gujarat in early 2011.
As I said, things are certainly moving in the right direction for now. Hopefully all remaining Telecom companies will stick to their roll out schedules and India will have complete 3G coverage. I wouldn’t take anything for granted just yet though – tariffs and regulation could yet prove to be party poopers – at least initially.
Have you heard any more 3G reports/rumours? Let us know!

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