Aircel has inaugurated 3G experience zones in Chennai which, as the name suggests, allow people to experience third generation or 3G wireless technology for themselves.
There will be four Aircel 3G experience zones across Chennai, at Atrium2, Spencers Plaza; Fun City, Express Avenue; Atrium Citi Centre and Aircel Store PH road.
Tata DOCOMO has already announced the upcoming launch of their 3G plans for India and are heavily marketing their services. MTNL and BSNL, the established players who are already in the 3G services market are countering with their own 3G plans and announcements. Reliance 3G and Airtel 3G services are also expected to start soon; consumers are eagerly awaiting news of their tarifs and plans. Related stories: MTNL revises 3G tariffs for Delhi and BSNL unlimited 3G data plan
Aircel has still not announced any details of its 3G plans in Chennai or the rest of India.
Video calling, Aircel interactive video voice response – a video service which will show music videos and films etc, and Aircel 3G PocketInternet portal which has entertainment, news, sports and other content are some of the services that users will be able to experience at the Aircel 3G centers.
With these experience zones, Aircel has technically become the first private operator in India to offer 3G services, though only at select locations. The Aircel 3G experience zones have been inaugurated days before Tata Docomo launches 3G services for its customers on Diwali this November 5.
Aircel, the fifth largest telecom operator in India in terms of subscribers, has won 3G spectrum in 13 of the 23 telecom circles in India. The company is present in all 23 circles and has a subscriber base of 47 million. Related: 3G service providers in India
The other operators that won 3G spectrum are Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Tata Docomo, Reliance Communications, STel and Idea Cellular. While Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications will probably begin offering 3G services starting this year, Vodafone might offer 3G only next year. All the operators won spectrum in a few circles each and none of them have 3G airwave rights for Delhi and Mumbai, the most important telecom circles in the country. This means that unless they share spectrum with each other and with state run operators BSNL and MTNL, the operators will not be able to offer 3G roaming services throughout the country. Negotiations among operators for sharing spectrum are currently on.
Aircel intends to roll out 3G services commercially within two months. Aircel will spend $500 million on 3G rollout and the service will be available in Chennai and Coimbatore first.
Preparing for the future over the past few months, Aircel has released Aircel Pocket Internet, Aircel Pocket Apps store and Aircel Apollo Mobile Health Care products and value added services.