Bharti Airtel on Tuesday become the first company in India to offer high speed internet services using fourth-generation (4G) telecommunications technology.
The company said high-speed wireless broadband “has the potential to transform India” and to provide a platform for “building the country’s digital economy.”
What’s new in 4G technology?
4G, known as the ultra-broadband allows mobile phone users to surf the Internet, video conference and download music, video and other content at a rate several times faster than 3G services that are still being rolled out across the country.
A successor to the 3G and 2G families,4G
is expected to be five times quicker than 3G services. It would offer services such as high-definition mobile TV and video conferencing.
Analysts say India’s rural areas offer huge market potential but erecting infrastructure to support high-speed networks will be costly, making urban areas the immediate battlegrounds for customers.
Mittal said that the TD-LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology adopted by Airtel would be the platform for future broadband revolution.
“We hope that this technology would be emulated and followed by those who got Braodband Wireless Access (BWA) licenses,” he said at the launch event.
Airtel’s 4G services
“Today’s launch is a major milestone for India and Airtel,” Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal said in a statement.
Bharti rolled out the 4G wireless broadband services in Kolkata and is working on launching advanced technology networks in other parts of the country. Bharti Airtel will shortly roll them out in the other three circles of Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra (excluding Mumbai).
“We will launch the 4G LTE service in Bangalore this month, followed by Pune and Chandigarh,” Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal said.
With one of the largest pools of young people in the world, India will see massive growth in consumption of data and content over mobile devices and proliferation of mobile commerce, analysts say.
Bharti and its rivals paid a total Rs 38,543 crore ($7.5 billion) to buy fourth-generation (4G) wireless broadband spectrum in a 2010 auction, which saw bids at much higher prices than initially expected.
Bharti managed to win 4G spectrum in just four of India’s 22 telecoms zones in the auction, paying Rs 3,314 crore for spectrum in the Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kolkata and Punjab zones.
The network for rolling out Airtel’s 4G LTE services in the city had been built by Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE. Airtel is the first mobile operator to launch 4G services in the country. Bharti Airtel has already awarded the contract for building and operating its 4G network in Maharashtra to Nokia Siemens Networks.
The first mobile service was also launched in Kolkata in 1995.
Source: The Times of India