How prepared is MTNL to launch 3G services? It’s certain that the company is going to launch 3G services tomorrow – the CMD RSP Sinha is now on record stating that the service will be made available to its existing “premium” customers in Delhi for two months, before being launched in Mumbai. They want customers to try out the services before paying a premium for them.

But in its rush to launch the service – indeed, officially be the first 3G carrier in India – MTNL doesn’t appear to be adequately prepared. The network in Delhi is not yet complete, and the service will be restricted to NDMC areas and Gurgaon. What’s more, I just called the MTNL mobile helpline to inquire about how I can sign up for 3G services, and I was assured that “There is no such service being launched.”

The governments annual telecom conference, India Telecom 2008, begins tomorrow, and there is little doubt that the 3G launch has more to do with the conference than the actual preparedness of the company to launch 3G services. And that is sad, but symptomatic of the government owned telco’s approach.

Says Sinha, to the Hindu, “We were the first to launch broadband service, IPTV and Voice over Internet Protocol. Now, we are all set to become the first to launch 3G services in the country.”