Thursday, July 14, 2011

3G Roaming Deal By Top Indian Operators

Three of India’s largest mobile operators – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular – have reportedly struck an intra-circle roaming agreement that will allow them each to offer a countrywide 3G service. In a statement to the Hindu Business Line, Vodafone said it “has entered into a bilateral roaming agreement with Idea and Airtel in circles where we have not built our own 3G network. With this agreement, Vodafone / Airtel / Idea will bring a pan-India experience of 3G services to their customers.” The other two operators have yet to confirm the deal. Last year’s 3G spectrum auctions saw all the country’s operators fall short of acquiring nationwide coverage. Bharti, Aircel and Reliance Communications each own 3G spectrum licences in 13 of the 22 telecom circles, while Vodafone, Idea and Tata each have licences in nine circles.
According to the Hindu Business Line, the latest deal will see Idea use Vodafone’s 3G services in Delhi and Kolkata circles, while Vodafone will use Idea’s network in Andhra Pradesh and Kerala – plus Bharti’s network in Uttar Pradesh (West). Bharti and Idea will tie-up in Karnataka and Gujarat. The report notes that the operators have been “tight lipped” about the specific commercial agreements in the roaming pact, notably with regards to pricing. “This sort of arrangement is relatively new in the Indian market. Perhaps operators want to be sure on the outcome before highlighting them,” said Gartner analyst Shaily Shah. She noted also that “more such tie-ups amongst operators are in the pipeline.” source