Mobile phone companies are confirming 3G alliances as many service providers are lined up to launch these high-end services this quarter. So far, only two of the six private operators that won third generation frequencies, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices, have launched services on this high-end platform.
According to sources, Aircel and Tata Teleservices are in talks for a pan-India alliance to use each other’s 3G airwaves. Both these companies jointly have 3G frequencies in all circles except the metros of Delhi and Mumbai and Himachal Pradesh. But, they are poised to get 3G spectrum in the lucrative Delhi and Mumbai metros as they are the only bidders for MTNL’s offer to share its 3G network with two firms that pay the highest price.
Sources revealed that the three GSM biggies- Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular are also in the last lap of finalizing their strategic 3G alliance.
According to Reliance Communications executive, the company was in talks with three operators for a 3G roaming alliance, and added an announcement is due soon, but refused to divulge additional details.
With no operator bagging pan-India 3G spectrum, which enable services such as video calling, interactive gaming and high speed internet on phones, all mobile phone companies are sewing up roaming agreements with each other to retain high-end users. The country’s top two mobile firms, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications (RCOM), each won 13 of the 22 telecom zones on offer while Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular, Aircel and Tata won a total of 9, 11, 13 and 9 circles, respectively.
Bharti, Vodafone and Idea jointly have 3G spectrum in all circles except Orissa. They also jointly own the world’s largest telecom infrastructure company, Indus Tower, enabling them to share mobile networks for 3G launch.