26 Million Indians use 3G handsets to get 2G service

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New Delhi: As per the figures of the Indian Cellular Association, 26 million of India's 563 million mobile phone subscribers have handsets that are 3G enabled. Indians who use 3G handsets outnumber the entire population of Australia by about five million, Belgium by 16 million, Denmark by 21 million, the Netherlands by 10 million and Switzerland by 19 million. The government promises that 3G services will be up and running in six months. The country is only now going through the motions of selecting telecom companies that will eventually run the 3G services. Now the 26 million users use 3G handsets to get only 2G services. In a report titled 'Uptake of 3G services in India', Evalueserve, says the number of Indians with 3G handsets will increase to 395 million by 2013, growing by 82 per cent CAGR (compounded annual growth rate). In three years from now, urban mobile users will account for 80 per cent of all 3G subscribers and services such as video downloads, music downloads, internet applications and search will see an upsurge, according to the report. "3G is expected to initially create 'voice' capacity in the existing spectrum; it will eventually deliver a bouquet of services from vanilla voice and basic data to rich entertainment and more. We believe 3G in India will be driven by content rather than voice," said V Ramnath, Director of Operator Accounts, Nokia. Even with the current technologies there is big demand for content in India. Nokia has over 20 3G handset models. Specifically with 3G in mind, it has launched Ovi, an internet services brand. Industry estimates put the handset market at Rs 40,000 crore a year, which will expand to Rs 50,000 crore next year. Every year 120 million handsets of 58 brands are sold. The number of 3G handsets sold will rise once high-speed mobile internet services are available. "The launch of 3G will open the doors to innovative value-added services, which will bring everything on just one convergent device, bringing a paradigm shift in cellular communication. We plan to come up with 3G handsets in three months. We see a huge growth and our R&D team is already working on product development," said, Deepesh Gupta, Managing Director, Zen Mobiles. Intex Technologies' national sales manager Sudhir Kumar said R&D on 3G devices had already started. "Subscribers are not yet educated on 3G technology. It will take some time for them to adopt it," he said. His company is planning to bring out up to 10 models of 3G handsets at low price points.