3G adoption to broadband economy: CII

NEW DELHI: A new study projects that India will have 21.3 million 3G users (11 per cent of total mobile lines) by 2010.

Within two years, India will take over Japan to become the third largest mobile market in the world after China and the US, the study, `Enabling India's Broadband Economy-The 3G Way', says.

Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has carried out the survey in association with the US-based research firm The Yankee Group.

The report tends to highlight migration from 2G to 3G is inevitable, which makes it imperative for India to get prepared at the earliest to boost its economy.

This, in turn, is also likely to help the country's economy achieve double-digit growth, which at present is approximately 7-8 per cent.

"3G services will usher in greater range of handsets, services and applications that will positively impact the growth of India's broadband market," The Yankee Group programme manager (wireless /mobile), Asia-Pacific Farid Yunus said while unveiling the report.

Yunus added: "India's mobile market is growing at an impressive rate and will only be bettered with improved coverage in rural areas and mobile penetration. Regulatory bodies and policy makers will have to address contentious issues like spectrum, which are critical for growth."

If both CDMA and GSM operators launch 3G in 2006, the report states, 0.2 per cent of total mobile users or 0.3 per cent of the total urban mobile users in the next six months.

Interestingly, the CII-Yankee study lauds the government-controlled BSNL's decision to show interest in 3G in its latest GSM tender. Pointing out that it’s a key development, the report says most Indian operators will launch 3G services in quick succession.

``Based on international experience and early adopter profiles, 3G ARPU (average revenue per user) should be roughly three times (of) 2G ARPUs in the first year. This will gradually decline as lower spending late adopters migrate to 3G,'' the study points out.

The report provides valuable insights into rural coverage, mobile penetration, handsets, services and applications, alternate technologies, regulations and policies and related issues. The present study is an attempt to leverage and use ICT tools for sustained economic growth of India.

Keeping in view that there are only one million broadband customers in India at present, against a target of 3 million by December 2005, there is a need to exploit the 3G technologies to better broadband penetration, particularly in the congested urban areas, the report emphasizes.

Industry representatives present during the unveiling of the report agreed that key factors needing attention include 3G license and handset costs, quality of service, content and the rate of technology advancements, which is presently higher than the rate of deployments.

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