After bagging 3G spectrum for 13 telecom circles, Aircel is now planning to launch the advanced third generation mobile services early next year.

“We plan to launch 3G services in the first quarter of 2011 and will initially invest $500 million on it. We will begin with top 10 cities in the telecom circles where we have won the spectrum,” Aircel Chief Operating Officer Gurdeep Singh told this correspondent.

Aircel, a joint venture between Malaysia's Maxis Communications and India's Apollo Hospital Enterprise, where the former holds a majority stake of 74 per cent, is betting big on 3G services for which it has already started upgrading infrastructure and is also chalking out unique bouquet of services for its subscribers.

“In the first year of the launch of our 3G services, we will invest $500 million, while for the entire 2G and 3G, the investment would be to tune of $1 billion,” Mr. Singh said.

The telecom operator also plans to finalise equipment manufacturer for its 3G network upgradation within this month.

With current subscriber base of 4.5 crore, Aircel hope that it would touch 7.5-crore by next year out of which 10 per cent would come from the 3G services.

Aircel has won 3G spectrum for 13 circles – Delhi, Mumbai, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Goa, Rajasthan, Punjab, UP (West) and UP (East).

Stating that Aircel was bullish on the Indian telecom market, one of the world's fastest growing market, Mr. Singh said: “We have already announced plans to double subscriber base and invest $5 billion towards network expansion and upgradation over the next three to five years.”

Wireless services

Referring the high-speed wireless broadband services (BWA), for which it has won licence for 8 circles, Mr. Singh said they were still to decide on which technology to adopt -- TD-LTE or WiMax. “We know that the next wave of growth is going to come from data… we are very focused on the data business that would give further boost to India's economy and would also be good revenue generator,” he added.

More In: Companies | Business