More than half-a-million Airtel mobile subscribers have started using third generation (3G) services within a one month of launching services across seven cities, including Chennai and Bangalore. The operator on Thursday started 3G services in Delhi also, which promises to better the quality of voice calls and enhance data speeds considerably.

To enable seamless mobile experience, Airtel has already rolled out 4,500 sites across the seven cities and 1,800 sites in Delhi. “We are truly driving the mobile data revolution in the country. We are definitely witnessing the tipping point of non-voice and data explosion in this country and will be bringing the Airtel 3G advantage pan-India soon as promised,” said Mr Atul Bindal, President-Mobile Services, Bharti Airtel.

The operator is planning to launch 3G services in 13 circles by March. In the other areas where Airtel does not have 3G spectrum, it is in talks with other operators for a roaming agreement. “The talks with operators are going on right now and we will announce the partnership soon. No operator has got 3G spectrum across the country so this is essential for everyone,” Mr Bindal said.

3G will allow customers to enjoy a variety of exciting service offerings including mobile TV, video calls, high-speed internet and video capabilities on social networks. For laptop users, 3G dongles are also now available.

Mr Bindal said that he expects data uptake to grow 100 times with the advent of 3G as subscribers get to choose from a variety of applications. “Operators currently get about 13 per cent of their revenues from data of which SMS accounts for 4-5 per cent. So already on 2G the non-SMS revenue is on the uptake. With 3G this will grow many folds,” Mr Bindal said.

Airtel has introduced a range of tariff plans starting from a sachet plan of Rs 11 a day with 10 MB download to a 2GB plan at Rs 750 a month.

(This article was published on March 3, 2011)
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