India’s second largest mobile network operator by subscribers, Reliance Communications (RCOM) has announced the launch of third-generation services in Bihar (including Jharkhand), the Times of India reports. Initially 3G services in the Bihar circle are restricted to the city of Patna, but the cellco has said that a further nine cities – Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Gaya, Chhapra, Ara, Katihar, Begusarai , Biharsharif and Hazipur — will be covered by the end of this month. In Jharkhand meanwhile six cities — Ranchi, Dhanbad, Jamshedpur, Bokaro, Jharia and Chas — will be covered in the first phase. Commenting on the development Reliance Communications’ regional head, Vivek K Garg, noted: ‘Reliance 3G places us in a unique position with our suite of offerings covering 3G, CDMA, GSM and mobile broadband data services on the wireless platform.’
In separate but related news RCOM has also revealed that it expects to launch 3G services in 17 major towns in the Orissa circle by the end of March 2010, according to India’s Business Standard. In addition, Rahul Chaudhary, CEO of RCOM’s Orissa operations, said that the cellco currently has around 1,700 mobile towers in the region, and plans to add a further 700 in the next three to four months.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in May 2010 RCOM was one of seven companies to successfully bid for 3G concessions in the government’s much-delayed auction. It paid INR85.85 billion (USD1.85 billion) for 3G licences in 13 circles: Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, North East, Jammu & Kashmir, Orissa and Assam. It launched commercial 3G services in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chandigarh in December 2010 and has said it aims to inaugurate third-generation services in all 13 licensed areas by end-March 2011.