Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, and Idea Cellular Ltd – three of India's biggest telecom service providers - are close to signing an agreement to share their third-generation (3G) radio bandwidth, according to a report.
The agreement "is almost in the final stages. Just the details need to be worked out," The Wall Street Journal reported, citing an unnamed source.
Idea Cellular on Monday introduced its 3G services in four states, and said it will spend Rs4,200 crore ($939 million) to expand the programme to 4,000 towns by the end of March 2012. Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar, the Indian unit of Vodafone Group PLC, have already launched similar services.
Bharti Airtel has licenses and radio bandwidth to offer 3G services in 13 service areas, while Idea holds licenses for 11 service areas; and Vodafone Essar nine areas.
Spokesmen for Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar didn't immediately respond to emailed requests for comments from WSJ.
The agreement, if signed, would allow the companies to reduce their average cost of radio bandwidth by accessing each other's networks in areas where they don't own 3G licenses.