Vodafone yesterday demonstrated its 3G services India, with Marten Pieters, MD, Vodafone Essar Ltd, made the first 3G video call from Mumbai to Delhi; it won’t, however, be the first commercial launch of 3G services from a private telco in India: competitor Tata Docomo is planning to launch 3G services a couple of weeks from now, and according to a report in Business Standard, they’re going the whole hog: 4000 exclusive stores for distribution in the next 3-6 months, and plans to launch dongles, mobile internet devices, routers and mobile devices.
Vodafone, on the other hand, will launch services in the first quarter of 2011, looking to provide customers video calling, high speed Internet, live mobile TV, better gaming experience etc. Vodafone has 3G spectrum in 9 circles – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu (including Chennai), Haryana, Uttar Pradesh (E) and West Bengal, for which it paid Rs. 11617.86 crore. Vodafone says that it is exploring opportunities to provide 3G services in other circles as well; it’s likely that it is referring to roaming agreements with other telcos, but it will be interesting if telecom operators ink “franchise agreements” as well. Remember that Vodafone doesn’t have spectrum in three circles which STel has – Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa. Possible?