Reliance Communications on Monday became the first private telecom operator to launch 3G services in the city. The bouquet includes high speed Internet and mobile television but not video call and the tariff is still unclear.
BSNL was the first to bring 3G, including video calls, to Calcutta in February 2009 but has failed to find more than 20,000 takers in the city despite its 2,127,554 strong subscriber base.
Apart from BSNL and Reliance, Vodafone and Aircel have licences to offer 3G services in Calcutta but are yet to do so. Vivek K. Garg, the regional head (east) of Reliance Communication’s wireless business, said 30 to 40 per cent of the company’s subscribers had 3G-enabled phones and many of them would avail themselves of the new services. 3G or International Mobile Telecommunications 2000 (IMT 2000) is a generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunications services fulfilling specifications of the International Telecommunication Union.
3G subscribers can watch movies and television on the move, browse Internet at broadband speeds and make video calls (similar to webcam chat on laptops). Industry insiders said BSNL’s 3G services were “all right” within cities but not good in smaller centres. Private players like Reliance Communications, headed by Anil Ambani, and Tata DOCOMO are expected to come up with better services. “BSNL’s 3G services have improved. If you have a highend handset, it works quite well. However, the quality of service deteriorates if a subscriber moves even within the city,” said an expert.
Reliance Communications subscribers with GSM connections and 3G-enabled handsets will be able to access the new services without changing their SIM cards.“CDMA customers (of the company) will not only have to change their handsets and SIM cards, but also, under the present regulations, their mobile numbers, to access 3G services,” said Garg. Earlier, while launching 3G services in Mumbai, Delhi and Chandigarh along with Calcutta, Syed Safawi, the CEO of Reliance Communications, said: “We rolled out 3G services within 100 days of receiving 3G spectrum in the major metros of India. The services would be extended across all 13 telecom circles where we hold 3G licences by the end of 201011 fiscal.” The circles include towns in Bengal like Siliguri, Asansol and Burdwan.
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