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Tata Teleservices to launch GSM services

By Pupul Dutta, IANS,

Agra : Tata Teleservices, which has mobile telephony services on the CDMA platform, announced Saturday that it will launch GSM services soon.

“The company will invest $2 billion for setting up nationwide services on GSM network over the next two years,” Tata Teleservices managing director Anil Sardana told reporters.

Sardana added that the company has already acquired spectrum for GSM network in south India.

“We have licence for six circles including Andhra Pradesh, Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, where we will be launching GSM services by fiscal 2009,” he said.

The company will also roll out services in Orissa and Kerala, the other two circles where it has acquired the spectrum.

Tata Teleservices will be the second Indian operator after Reliance Communications (RCom) to foray into the GSM arena after having operations in CDMA mobile platform.

Reliance launched its CDMA services in 2003, a few days after Tata entered the field.

RCom has already launched GSM services in south India. The Anil Ambani-led company is also diversifying its GSM portfolio and has acquired GSM licences in 14 additional circles in December last year.

RCom last Sunday announced a pilot launch of its GSM services in Delhi for some of its employees.

Besides, the company plans to expand in the value-added services (VAS) space with the rollout of 3G services in the country next year.

“The VAS contributes about 12 percent of the revenue in the mobile vertical of the company. We are excited and are developing some new platforms for our existing as well as prospective customers,” Tata Teleservices president-VAS Pankaj Sethi told IANS.

Though pricing is a challenge in VAS, the company still hopes to churn out more revenue with the rollout of 3G services.

One of the VAS the company is seriously looking at is enabling m-commerce on its handsets.

M-commerece refers to an umbrella of services where the customer can use his or her mobile phone as a debit card using bluetooth and SMS to pay while making purchases.

However, the company is still awaiting regulatory guidelines from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Sardana added that the Tata Teleservices will soon include advance tracking capabilities in its service bouquet. They will introduce the technology which can be used by customers to “track their near and dear ones” in association with the mobile technology company Qualcomm.