India should not delay allotting 3G spectrum: Mittal

March 14th, 2008 - 9:35 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 14 (IANS) India should not delay allotting third-generation (3G) radio frequency or spectrum to telecom operators and lose out on its business potential, Bharti Airtel chief Sunil Mittal said here Friday. “Indian consumers are completely ready for 3G services. The services are ready, the price point is there, but somehow the government is unnecessarily delaying it,” Mittal, head of India’s largest telecom service provider, told a conclave.

“I hope India puts the 3G spectrum on auction soon. We are already two years late, we cannot afford to delay it more,” he added.

Currently, only second generation (2G) spectrum is distributed to telecom operators on first-come-first-served basis. The government is mulling auction of the 3G spectrum.

However, according to the TRAI, the auction should be limited only to the existing leading operators who can provide a more commercially viable 3G service.

The 3G mobile phone services enable users to surf faster than now the Internet and download music, videos and other value added services.

India is the world’s fastest growing mobile phone market with the lowest call tariffs of below two US cents. The market has emerged as the cynosure of global telecom giants.

The Richard Branson-promoted Virgin Mobile is the latest to make the foray into the Indian market. It announced its entry into the Indian market last week in partnership with Mumbai-based Tata Teleservices.

The Indian government has set a target of 500 million users by 2010; half of this target, 250 million, was reached last year.

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