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Operators looking to collaborate for nationwide 3G services

No private Indian operator has a pan India 3G license. They are therefore talking to each other to make sure that this doesn't stop them from offering services across the country.

Your operator didn’t secure 3G spectrum in your circle? Fret not; operators are collaborating with each other to ensure that they can mutually have a nationwide presence through network sharing and roaming agreements so as to provide 3G services across the nation.

While there is nothing new with roaming agreement between service providers, it is now being worked out in a way that operators can offer services even if they do not have spectrum in that circle.

Also, since spectrum sharing is not allowed in India, it will be interesting to see how operators manage alliances.

Active infrastructure sharing, on the other hand, is permitted and 3G equipment that operators have deployed also supports it.

Shudeep Majumdar, the spokesperson of Nokia Siemens Networks, said, “Our equipment is ready for network share with little upgrade. If utilised it will reduce capex spend of the operators drastically.”

According to various media reports, Tata Docomo and Aircel are already discussing a tie-up arrangement. They are said to be testing network sharing in Punjab.

Public sector operator MTNL has already started the process of offering its spare spectrum to other telcos and will soon announce the successful bidders. Both Tata Docomo and Aircel have applied to be part of MTNL’s scheme. The other public sector company BSNL has also announced its intentions to invite similar bids.

Experts feel that for operators to achieve economies of scale it is very important that they establish a national footprint. For users network sharing is the only way to get seamless 3G while roaming.

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