In the first clear announcement after the government auctioned spectrum, the country’s second-largest telecom service provider Vodafone Essar said on Thursday it will invest $500 million (Rs 2,200 crore) to roll out 3G services by the first quarter of 2011.
“We have invested around $400 to $ 500 million in the 3G technology apart from Rs 11,600 crore spent during bidding,” said Marten Pieters, managing director, Vodafone Essar Ltd. The company will initially launch services in phases in select cities.
Following MTNL, Vodafone is the second company in the country to launch 3G services and the first private company to do so. Tata Teleservies and Tata Docomo are also expected to launch 3G services soon.
Vodafone has acquired 3G spectrum in 10 circles including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh (E) and West Bengal. “We will be launching the services in some cities,” said Pieters, without specifying which cities.
Vodafone did not disclose its 3G service charges. It has tied up with Nokia Siemens Networks and Ericsson as its 3G equipment suppliers.