Indian GSM operator Tata Docomo looks set to become the first privately-owned operator in the world’s fastest-growing mobile market to launch 3G services. “We are all set to launch 3G services on Diwali,” Deepak Gulati, President, Mobility, Tata Teleservices Ltd, told the Hindu Business Line. Nine circles are due for simultaneous launch by 5 November; Delhi, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Kolkata, Haryana, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh (East). Initially, 3G coverage will be available only in the largest cities within each circle. Mr Gulati said that details regarding tariffs and applications will be announced later. Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), Huawei and ZTE are building the 3G network. Tata, which offers mobile services under the Indicom and Docomo brand, won bandwidth to offer 3G services in nine of the country’s 22 telecom service areas in a government-led auction earlier this year. The 3G services will be launched on the Docomo brand, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
To date only state-owned operators BSNL and MTNL have launched 3G services in the world’s second-largest mobile market. Other mobile operators that have won 3G spectrum are yet to reveal exactly when they will launch services though most have broadly indicated that services will be available to consumers by year-end. In particular, much attention is being focused on market leader Bharti, which recently announced Ericsson, Huawei and NSN as its 3G equipment suppliers.