Launching its 3G services in Mumbai on Tuesday, Bharti Airtel, the country's largest mobile services provider, claimed the response to the third generation services is good wherever it has been launched.
"We have acquired five to six lakh 3G subscribers. We are witnessing a good data usage of over 1 terabyte per day from a single city," the company's president for mobile services Atul Bindal said after the launch.
Mumbai is the 11th city where Airtel has launched its services and the company is targeting a rollout in 40 cities across 13 telecom circles where it has secured a 3G licence by March-end. The company is targeting a 3G presence in 1,000 towns and cities by FY12-end, he said.
The service offers better bandwidth, which enables heavy data transfer. Mobile firms last year paid unprecedented amounts to the government in an auction to secure the spectrum. The mobile companies hope to recover the amount in user charges, in a country largely confined to low-revenue voice and text usage of mobiles.
Bindal said the average revenue per user (ARPU) numbers will definitely "firm up" under 3G as the conventional voice service rates have plummeted due to competition. Airtel currently gets 9 per cent revenues from data services, which will "significantly" rise as 3G becomes operational, he added.
For the Mumbai circle, Bharti has invested in erecting 1,300 3G sites or towers, which are over and above 3,100 2G sites it already has, the company's executive director, Deepak Mehrotra, said. He said the 1,300 sites are enough for the requirements of 80 per cent of users.