India to hold global auction for 3G spectrum

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New Delhi, Aug 1: Telecom Minister A Raja on Friday, August 1 said the auction for the high-speed third-generation (3G) mobile services will include global players and have five operators initially. India has 60 MHz of 3G spectrum available, and will allow both GSM and CDMA 3G services, the Ministers told reporters here.

The 3G services will help telco operators to provide next-generation high-end services which gives users a chance to enjoy fast Internet access, games and a host of multimedia content from maps to music on their cellphones. India, which had 287 million mobile users as of June-end, saw its mobile users base expand 25 times between 2002 and 2007, making it the fastest-growing wireless market in the world. It is also the world's second-biggest wireless market after China.

Monthly phone bills went up by as much as 50 pc for subscribers in some countries when they switched from the normal 2G services to 3G services. Moreover, many subscribers may have to upgrade their handsets to avail 3G services.

The starting price for a 3G-enabled handset is about Rs 6,000 compared to an entry level phone of Rs 700. Finally, India is primarily a 'voice" market and it remains to be seen how many subscribers take to 3G-driven data services. It took nearly eight to ten years for customers in Europe to adopt 3G services in a big way.


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