Sunday, January 4, 2009

3G rollout India - so near yet so far

Last year saw many false starts on the 3G spectrum auction in India. Of all the frenzied activity witnessed on the 3G front MTNL's rollout of services in the NCR region was the only news to show off and larger subscriber population is yet to see any so much as a date on when 3G services will be available. The government wants to make sure that it wants the spectrum auctions to fetch the highest possible price ( called market price ) in the circumstances of economic situation worldwide. However with every successive delay of the auctions the bidders are getting wary and at best show lukewarm interest as in case of the response to the pre-bid meeting.

Related consequences to the delay in the 3G spectrum auctions are the delay in WiMax auctions and even the MNP developments. The latter also involves an auction process and right now all the delays are being attributed to the policy changes initiated by various stake holders within the cabinet. The government does not have any problem in the delays as the large delays would give time for the mobile subscriber base to build which in the Indian case has been happening at a rapid clip. As time goes, the government will have a better fruit to offer in terms of a larger subscriber base and can expect a higher price. As said before, the bidders are also not very keen at this point of time to hurry up.

All said, the date for the 3G spectrum auction is still 30th January 2009. If something happens by then the auction process goes through, it will be a big surprise as the news that is available points to more delays.


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