India South Asia Com Kicks off in Mumbai

Competition is set to increase in India’s telecommunications market, as the regulator and the government are taking measures to increase spectrum availability and enable the launch of 3G networks.

Earlier this week the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) started allocating GSM spectrum to five new telecom players: Videocon-promoted Datacom, Idea Cellular, realty major Unitech, Swan Telecom and Loop Telecom. The DoT also announced draft guidelines for the auction process for 3G licences in the country, hinting to a preference to existing mobile network operators to avoid costly and slow rollout of new networks. This is great news to bidders including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar.

Stakeholders in India’s market have long been awaiting the launch of 3G licensing, with the opportunities it creates for customers looking for a flexible access to data services. However, concerns still exist over the viability of such a service in a country where low-end customers form the vast majority of the market. India’s 3G licensing process will no doubt be watched with great interest by its neighbouring countries, to learn the lessons from South Asia’s largest market.

India & South Asia Com congress, which kicked off in Mumbai on Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th, will be a significant event to discuss the opportunities and challenges in the region’s telecommunications market. Supported by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) as well as other industry associations (ISPAI, Central Asia CDMA Forum, ETSI, Wi-Fi Alliance, and dotMobi Advisory Group), the congress will gather the region’s telecommunications professionals to discuss technology and commercial strategies for growth.

Nripendra Misra, Chairman of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will give a keynote address, thus offering participants a chance to hear India’s regulatory policy for 3G services and other challenges ahead. Some of the region’s leading operators will also give insights into their companies’ strategies, with presentations from 50 expert speakers including Anuraj Gambhir (President of Spice Telecom), Jagbir Singh (Group CTO Mobility at Bharti Airtel), Rajesh Sawhney (President Entertainment at Reliance), Irfan W. Khan (EVP at Telenor Pakistan), Rajesh Kumar (Chief of Strategic Planning & New Technologies at BSNL), Anil Tandan (CTO of Idea Cellular), Pankaj Sethi (President VAS at Tata Teleservices), Arvind Kumar Srivastava (GM of GSM at MTNL ) and more.

The two-day conference, which includes strategic keynotes in the morning and five specialist streams in the afternoons, will provide opportunities for telecommunications professionals to learn about all aspects of technology evolution and commercial strategies. In addition to GSM, which makes up for 86% of India’s market and a large proportion of that of its neighbouring countries, this year’s conference will also look at alternative technologies such as CDMA and WiMAX, and discuss how they can complement the consumer proposition. “For its 11th year, the India & South Asia congress will bring together a broader audience, representing the region’s telecommunications industry as a whole, says Julie Rey, Head of Africa & Asia-Pacific events for the Com World Series at Informa Telecoms & Media; it will give telecommunications professionals an opportunity to gain new insights from colleagues working in different markets, and to further understand the strategies enabled by new technologies”.

Over 250 high-level participants are expected to attend this year’s event, an ideal forum for networking with the region’s telecommunications leaders. The co-located exhibition will allow vendor companies to showcase their latest products and technologies. Participants include representatives of over 80 different companies offering services in the region or partnering with its service providers. Among them will be: AIRCOM International, Bharti Airtel Ltd, BSNL, Celcom Group, Ericsson AB, Essar Telecom Ltd, Grameenphone Ltd, GSM Kazakhstan JSC, HSBC Securities & Capital Markets India Pvt Ltd, Idea Cellular Ltd, LG Electronics, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd MTNL, Maxis Communications Berhad, Microsoft Corporation India Pvt Ltd, Mobilink, Orange Business Services, Orascom Telecom Bangladesh Ltd banglalink, QTEL Telecom, Reliance Communications Ltd, Spice Communications Ltd, Tata Services Maharashtra Ltd, Telenor Pakistan, TeliaSonera International Carrier, TM International Bangladesh Ltd, Virgin Mobile India, Vodafone Essar Ltd, Warid Telecom International and more.

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