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3G In India: MTNL To Launch 3G Services On December 11th; Limitations?


mtnlMTNL has set to launch 3G services on December 11th, according to several media reports. This is in line with something that D Shivkumar, MD of Nokia India had said at the launch of the Nokia Music Store: that Prime Miniser Manmohan Singh will make the first 3G call in India on December 11th. This also co-incides with the Department of Telecom’s year-end conference – India Telecom 2008.

MTNL is getting a significant head start over private 3G operators, since the license auction is expected to be in January. There are murmurs that the 3G auction will be delayed further. I think if it gets delayed beyond February 2009, then it’s likely to be postponed until after the May 2009 general elections in India.

Will MTNLs 3G Service Really Be Useful?
MTNLs opearations are limited to Delhi and Mumbai, and it’s unlikely that 3G infrastructure has been laid out beyond these cities. Which means that even if you sign up for MTNLs 3G services, you can only use them within city limits.

There are likely to be interoperability agreements between the two public sector carriers – MTNL and BSNL; when BSNL had initially launched its mobile services, users were able to switch to MTNL networks when in Delhi and Mumbai, where BSNL wasn’t allowed to operate. But how much of BSNLs infrastructure has been laid out so far?  Remember that BSNL already has EVDO services live in Bangalore.

Will I Sign Up For MTNLs 3G Service?
Not for video streaming or whatever else they have planned, but I will sign up for fast Internet access/Mobile broadband. I’m using a Reliance Net Connect data card which is good for emails, and occasionally for posts, but the bandwidth and network availability is rather poor. 

P.s.: time for MTNL to change its logo, yes?

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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