With its major rivals having already introduced 3G services, Indian mobile network operator Vodafone Essar has confirmed that it expects to roll out its own third-generation offering by the end of this fiscal year. According to The Hindu, the cellco’s director of enterprise and carrier business, Naveen Chopra, told local press that trials were still ongoing, and that commercial services would be introduced in a phased manner during March. In addition, the executive noted that the deployment of Vodafone’s 3G services would likely be undertaken on a city-by-city basis, rather than either state-wide or nationwide.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate earlier this week, Aircel became the most recent Indian cellco to inaugurate its 3G services after nine companies were awarded concessions following the completion of the government’s much-delayed auction in May 2010. Vodafone Essar paid INR116.18 billion (USD2.55 billion) for licences in nine of the country’s telecoms circles: Delhi, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Calcutta, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh (E) and West Bengal.