Nokia Siemens Gears up for Indian 3G Market

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Nokia Siemens Networks said on Saturday it has started making 3G (third-generation) mobile equipment in Chennai in south India, primarily to target the local market.

India's auction of spectrum for 3G mobile services started on Friday, and spectrum for the roll-out of services is scheduled to be available to winning bidders by September.

Nokia Siemens is already a supplier of 2G (second-generation) equipment to about ten Indian service providers, including the largest operator, Bharti Airtel, which is also bidding in the auction for 3G spectrum.

The company wants to be ready when customers start placing orders, a spokeswoman for Nokia Siemens in India said on Monday. Until then the production will be exported, she added.

While the 3G products manufactured in India are intended for both local and global markets, the demands of the Indian market will be given priority in the manufacturing decisions, the company said.

Starting with radio-frequency modules and system modules, the company plans to also manufacture in India the transport modules and next-generation microwave radios, the company said.

Nokia Siemens has also set up 3G test labs in the country and has trained 3200 Indian field engineers to support 3G roll-outs.

The company also has other operations in India that already work in the area of 3G. Its Global Network Solutions Centers in Noida and Chennai serve 27 operators worldwide that offer 3G services.

Nokia Siemens Networks' research and development (R&D) center in Bangalore supports 3G-related initiatives for the domestic market, and the company has already carried out site surveys for 3G deployment, the company said.

The company inaugurated its Chennai facility for the manufacturing and distribution of mobile communications infrastructure in 2008, with an investment of US$ 70 million. An additional $30 million is being invested in the services operations and other activities, the spokeswoman said.

The facility has until now been involved in the production of 2G communication infrastructure for local and global customers. It started rolling out 3G base stations last week.

India's Department of Telecommunications (DOT) said in letters to operators in March that it wants network equipment vendors to transfer technology for critical equipment and software to Indian manufacturers within three years of selling the products to any Indian operator, as part of series of security measures.

The DOT order does not however clarify whether Indian subsidiaries of multinationals qualify as Indian manufacturers under the order. The Nokia Siemens spokeswoman said it was premature for the company to comment on the issue.

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