The findings of a new Wireless Intelligence study have shown that by the year 2015, 30 percent (400 million) of the total mobile subscribers of India will be using 3G technology.
The same study also revealed that 7 operators received 3G spectrum this year while the public sector operators like MTNL and BSNL were awarded the 3G spectrum in advance. Of the total 3G users, only 20 percent will be CDMA based network connections while a large majority of 80 percent will be on WCDMA connections. Big players in this segment like Reliance communications and Tata Teleservices Ltd. (TTSL) are used to providing 3G services on their CDMA networks since a decade but they are now contemplating a major part of their connections to be WCDMA/GSM. In India, they were among the first ones to launch their respective 3G services in the last quarter of 2010.
The study forecasts that Reliance will gain a market share of 39 percent and TTSL that of 30 percent. Also, the New Year has already seen growing competition in the 3G space with Airtel, Aircel, and Vodafone rolling out 3G services in January, February and March respectively. Not only this, but it also says that all major network providers will avail this service by June 2011.
So the picture of the 3G space in 2015 will be inclusive of all companies and will be an All-India view of the telecom market. Here Airtel is expected to lead with a market share of 18 percent while Reliance and BSNL are expected at the 2nd and 3rd position with 15 and 13 percent shares respectively.
Now, most of the demand is from metro cities of India but soon the more populated regions of Punjab, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana will be the highest demanding territories of 3G services. But still Circle A and Circle B should use up to 75 percent of the total 3G connections by 2015.
This whole gamut of 3G is not free from challenges. Firstly none of the operators have a nationwide 3G facility, so they will have to share networks and apply roaming charges to customers. The second problem starts here, in India, a very large number of prospective 3G users (approx. 200 million) have very low daily income so pricing will be crucial to win the race.
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