India plans to announce 3G policy by March

NEW DELHI, Jan 24, 2007 (AFP) – India, one of the world’s fastest-growing mobile phone markets, said Wednesday it plans to announce its next generation — 3G — policy by March that telecom players expect will ease congestion.

“The policy will be ready by March 2007,” Communications Minister Dayanidhi Maran said on the sidelines of a conference in the Indian capital.

Major telecommunications providers have been carrying out trials of mobile services using the 3G or third generation spectrum in order to test equipment.

Indian telecoms firms are keen to be given frequencies in the 3G spectrum to ease congestion resulting from a boom in mobile phone sales.

A government-appointed panel has been reviewing such issues as pricing and allocations.

India has 189.9 million telephone subscribers, of which 149.5 million were mobile customers, according to official figures released in December.

The country gained 6.48 million new mobile subscribers last month, making it one of the world’s fastest growing mobile markets.

The government forecasts that by 2010 India will have more than 500 million mobile subscribers.

“India’s mobile subscriber base is increasing phenomenally every year — one customer is adde