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Bharti Airtel has unveiled its new logo and said that it will launch 3G services this year. Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal called Airtel’s brand ambassador Shah Rukh Khan over the company’s 3G network marking the first Airtel 3G call.

The company also has plans set up 200 3G experience zones for people to get a taste of 3G and Airtel’s services. This is meant to tempt cell phone buyers into buying 3G handsets. Another operator, Aircel, too has 3G experience zones in Chennai.

Meanwhile, word has it that we shall see Airtel’s 3G network in operation by the end of the week. This bit of speculation is based on a countdown timer that is running at Airtel’s office in Gurgaon, near New Delhi. If this timer is indeed counting down to the 3G launch, Airtel’s could be the second 3G network to be launched. Tata Docomo was the first Indian operator to launch 3G services this Diwali.

Bharti Airtel received spectrum licenses for 13 of the 22 telecom circles in India. It paid Rs 12,300 crore for the licenses. The operator said it will roll out 3G in stages within these circles, which are: Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai & Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar & Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, North East, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh West, and West Bengal & Sikkim.

The circles that Airtel does not have licenses to operate 3G in are: Gujarat, Haryana, Kerala, Kolkata, Madhya Pradesh & Chattisgarh, Maharashtra & Goa, Orissa, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh East.

No telecom operator has won a license to operate 3G throughout the country and because of this operators will have to share their spectrum to offer 3G roaming. For instance, if Airtel wants to offer 3G services to its customers traveling to Orissa, it will have to tie up with an operator that has a 3G license for that state.

As for Airtel’s new logo, it is a spirited looking red curve which looks somewhat like a three dimensional “A” if one were to stretch one’s imagination. The company says it is a symbol of youth. According to Sunil Mittal, the new brand identity reinforces Airtel’s promise to deliver innovative services and a superior brand experience to the operator’s 200 million customers in Asia and Africa.

The new logo, a revised signature tune, and revamped branding will be advertised via extensive publicity campaigns on all media. The new brand identity will also replace Zain’s logo in Nigeria. Zain is an African telco that Airtel recently acquired.



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