Aircel has finally launched its 3G network in Chennai.
The operator tested the system late last year and was the second company to demonstrate its new third-generation network in the malls of Chennai, but there was no word from the company thereafter, until now.
In the interim, Reliance and Airtel started offering 3G services. Tata Docomo, backed by Japan’s Docomo, which had set up the world’s first 3G network in its home country, started offering 3G even before Aircel started demonstrating its network. Suggested read: Tata Docomo revised 3G plans
Both BSNL and MTNL have dropped 3G tariffs in expectation of forthcoming competition from private telecom companies. Together, the two companies have a pan-India licence – with MTNL contributing spectrum in the lucrative Delhi and Mumbai circles. No other operator has a pan-India licence, and will therefore have to use the very dear, rented spectrum to offer subscribers countrywide 3G roaming. Also see: Reliance 3G in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata
Aircel has 3G spectrum rights in 13 of the 23 circles in India. Its network has been launched right in time for the ICC World Cup 2011, during which the company will offer video, audio, gaming and text content and services related to cricket. Related: ICC Cricket World Cup on your mobile phone
Till Feb. 27, Aircel will offer 250MB of data and 50 minutes of video calls to its subscribers, free of cost. Aircel subscribers need to send “START 3G” or “TRY 3G” in an SMS to 121 to try the service for free.
After the trial period, Aircel will charge 3 paise per 10KB of data use. MTNL charges 1 paisa per 10KB; BSNL recently increased its rate to 2 paise per10KB; and private operators usually charge about 10 paise per 10KB. The tariff for making video calls over Aircel’s 3G network is 5 paise per second.
In addition, Aircel offers various data packs:
|Cost per month||Rs. 92||Rs. 132||Rs. 252||Rs. 502||Rs. 802|
|Data (MB)||100 (Promo Offer)||75||150||350||1024|
Aircel has also created 3G experience zones in places where it is about the launch the services. These zones are at:
Chennai: Spencer Mall, Citi Centre Mall, Express Avenue Mall-Fun City, COCO – PH Road.
Hyderabad: Inorbit Mall, Prasads Imax Mall, GVK One Mall, COCO – Paradise Road.
Cochin: Oberon Mall, Bay Pride Mall, COCO – Vytella.
Coimbatore: KG Theatre Complex, COCO – RS Puram.
Bangalore: Garuda Mall, Forum Mall, Mantri Mall, COCO – Indiranagar.
Following the launch in Chennai, Aircel will soon start offering 3G services in Punjab, West Bengal and the remaining 10 circles too.
To access content over 3G, SMS “3G” to 5800000; you will receive a welcome message and the url http://3g.pocketinternet.in. Click on the url and choose the content category that interests you.
Aircel, a subsidiary of Malaysia’s Maxis Communications, will invest Rs. 23,000 crore in 3G and 2G operations over the next 3 to 4 years. The company will then have invested about $10 billion in India.
The company currently has about 50 million subscribers in India and expects about 35 percent of them to take to 3G.