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ThirdGen telephony, number portability is here

New Delhi, November 12
Steering India towards a new level of wireless telephony, the government today announced immediate release of spectrum for ‘third generation’ (3G) mobile services and allowed users to switch operators while retaining the cell phone numbers.

“The government has decided to release 3G spectrum in 2.1 ghz band with immediate effect,” communications minister A Raja told reporters here.

Number portability, which would allow users to change their service provider while keeping the numbers, will be introduced in the four metropolitan cities at the earliest.

Department of Telecommunications secretary D S Mathur said about 30 mhz spectrum can be released to accommodate three players in the first phase.

Asked whether only existing 2G players will be allowed to offer 3G services, Raja said: “No. I want healthy competition, I want all the players to bid for it. As far as foreign players are concerned, they will be allowed subject to security clearances by Ministry of Home Affairs.”

“The 3G licences will be granted through a controlled, simultaneous ascending e-auction, by a specialised agency to ensure transparency in selection process,” the minister said.

3G services will give users a better multi-media experience with faster data transfer rates. At present, cellular operators offer only 2G services.

Raja ruled out mergers among 3G operators during the first five years, and also said that trading and reselling of spectrum will not be allowed. — PTI

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