Vodafone Essar, the third largest GSM operator in India announced that it is going to launch 3G services in the 10 circles where it has been allotted 3G spectrum by the first quarter of 2011. At press events in Mumbai and Delhi, Vodafone soft launched the services with the company’s Managing Director Marten Pieters, making the first 3G call from the network. “We have invested around $400 to $ 500 million in the 3G technology apart from Rs 11,600 crore spent during bidding,” said Marten Pieters. He informed that the service will be launched in a phase wise manner and the company was optimistic on the revenue it will generate from the services. “Our approach is to give our customers a world-class experience and hence we will launch when a significant part of the cities is covered by our 3G network,” said Pieters. “The introduction of 3G technology will be the catalyst for data revolution in India. Vodafone has been successful in delivering 3G services to many developed and emerging markets and we will be utilising our global expertise to offer an enhanced 3G experience to our customers in India,” he added. Vodafone’s 3G services will enable customers to experience high speed internet and video calling on their handsets. Vodafone will launch the service in 10 circles including including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh (E) and West Bengal. In regions where the company did not get spectrum, it will tie up with other operators to give seamless 3G coverage across India. Pieters also said that the company is in talks with Idea and Airtel for the tie-ups. There was no announcement with regards to pricing. The networks are being installed and managed by Nokia Siemens Networks and Ericsson. Interestingly, other operators like Tata Docomo have already announced the date of their 3G launch, while others like Airtel and Reliance are gearing up to launch 3G by the end of this year.