Bharti to launch 3G services, Revenues from VAS expected to go up !

Bharti Airtel has completed trials of third generation services that it plans to introduce. The company is now awaiting the allotment of spectrum from the government to launch 3G services in India. Other telecom majors such as BSNL, Vodafone-Essar, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices are also carrying out trial runs of 3G appellations and services. According to company executives, the pilots included testing all high-speed internet applications, next generation gaming, video and wireless streaming. Bharti has also put processes in place for seamless migration of all value-added services to the 3G space from its current 2G networks.

Bharti is said to have successfully tried out IMS-based applications, a software platform in line with the latest 3G standards. This implies that content and application developers can use this platform to develop services for Bharti customers. Currently, about 10% of Bharti’s revenues come from value-added services (VAS). This figure is likely to increase to about 15% following the introduction of a slew of new data services following the introduction of 3G services. Operators are currently unable to launch 3G services as the radio frequency for these services are occupied by the country’s defence forces. This comes as the project to get the defence ministry to release 45 Mhz of spectrum (20 MHz for 2G and 25 MHz for 3G) is long overdue. As per the initial plan, the release was due in the second half of 2006, which was later extended to March 2007 and then to July 2007. With the department of telecom (DoT) and the defence ministry locking horns over the release of spectrum, the launch of 3G services is set to be further delayed.

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