NEW DELHI, 30 May-2014, ET: Idea Cellular, India’s third largest telco, has launched 3G services in the Punjab circle on its own spectrum, allowing its bigger rivals, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India, to offer similar services in the same circle through the intra-circle roaming pact between the three operators.
The high speed 3G services was initially made available by Idea in Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Nawanshahr, Jagraon, Malerkotla and Nabha, Idea said in a statement Thursday. It plans to cover 170 towns across the state with 1,800 3G cell sites by the end of this fiscal year closing March 2015. Idea Cellular is the sole provider of 3G services in Punjab. No 1 carrier Airtel and No 2 Vodafone, in separate statements, said that 3G services were made available to its respective users in Punjab under the intra-circle roaming (ICR) agreement.
The announcements come after a telecom tribunal ruling that allowed such 3G ICR roaming services. Under the roaming pact, the three telcos can provide 3G services even in areas where they don’t possess spectrum by using each other’s airwaves.
With the addition of the Punjab circle, Idea, Airtel and Vodafone have expanded their footprint to 21 out of 22 service areas covering 28 states in the country. Idea Cellular has 3G airwaves in 11 telecom circles, Airtel in 13 and Vodafone in nine service areas.
“Our recent spectrum win in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz band has now given us the ability to further expand our 3G network, and launch 4G services in key revenue markets including Punjab, at an appropriate juncture,” Idea Cellular Chief Operating Officer, Corporate, P Lakshminarayana said in the statement.
Idea is providing 3G mobile internet service starting at Rs 19 for 80MB data valid for two days to unlimited 3G plans starting from Rs 645.