3G Networks in India Is Likely to be Delayed

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3 Nov 2010
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Indian mobile users were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the 3G network to enjoy the broadband speed in the mobile network. 3G network was originally expected to be launched in January 2009. However, as per the official news, the auction dates for 3G spectrum in India has been postponed further. The auction was scheduled initially for 16 January. Now it has been moved to 30th of January to give more time to the bidders. This has disappointed many 3G fans. BSNL mobile was getting ready to launch the services and it would have been the first one to introduce 3G network to India while Airtel and Vodafone where the first one’s to sell iPhone 3G in the Indian market.

There are rumors that the auction date is likely to be postponed further to mid February leaving more disappointed 3G enthusiasts. There is also going to be an increase in the price. The minimum bid price is likely to be doubled as per the latest news. As per the possible new price, the minimum bid will be over 40 billion rupees. This will also increase the cost of enjoying the 3G facilities in our mobiles.

Auction is just one aspect of the introduction of the 3G network to India. There is much more crucial aspect that is still pending which is freeing up of the required 3G spectrum. Only when this spectrum is freed up and released the winning bidder will be able to launch the service. There is likely to be a delay in this regard too. It looks like that India has a very long wait before it can enjoy the mobile broadband surfing. The iPhones bought by 3G enthusiasts at a huge sums of money are to be shelved and stored safely to avoid losing the new looks when the 3G network really is made available to the Indian mobile users.

However, to mark the arrival of 3G network in India, the service was already launched in select cities and it is currently limited to Central Delhi on 12th of December 2008. MTNL has planned to spend over 4 billion rupees in extending its 3G services to Delhi and Mumbai.

Since the private operators are still waiting for their licenses to use the 3G spectrum, their hands are very badly tried. The current delays should give the Government owned MTNL enough time to test its service without the interference of the private operators who will try to take over the market.

We will be able to know the tariffs of the 3G services only after the completion of the auction. Even MTNL has not released its tariffs and it is most probably waiting for the private operators to come in to see how they are pricing the services. Since the private operators have to bear the burden of the overhead costs, it is still a question whether their 3G tariffs are going to be competitive with compared to MTNL tariffs.
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