India gets 4G with Airtel launching services

The immediate opportunity for Airtel is a data market mainly addressed by slow, fixed connections

India got its first 4G service with the country's largest mobile services provider Bharti Airtel launching services Tuesday based on the TD-LTE technology in the north-eastern city of Kolkata.

An immediate opportunity for Airtel is to push 4G (fourth-generation) data services in a market that is currently addressed mainly by slower, fixed line broadband connections that have limited reach, said Kamlesh Bhatia, principal research analyst at Gartner.

Airtel bid about 33 billion rupees (US$634 million) in a government auction in 2010 for the right to offer broadband wireless access (BWA) in four of India's 22 service areas. Starting with Kolkata, the company plans to offer 4G services in the other three service areas including Bangalore shortly.

Besides offering rich content, Airtel plans to give customers fast access to high-definition (HD) video streaming, multiple chatting, and instant uploading of photos, and also to bridge the country's digital divide.

The company will first have to build an ecosystem of applications, content and devices that can help customers take advantage of the 4G service, Bhatia said.

Airtel already offers a 3G mobile service, which could be affected by the new 4G service. Because of the lower fees that it paid for the BWA licenses and spectrum, and the overall spectral efficiency of TD-LTE, costs of its 4G service are likely to be competitive compared to its 3G service, Bhatia said.

Once other operators including Reliance Communications get into the market, there could be a temptation to cut prices too aggressively, as happened in the mobile voice communications market, according to Bhatia. "Hopefully they learned their lesson in the voice tariff wars," he said.

India had 13.5 million broadband subscribers at the end of February, according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. The number of mobile subscribers were far higher at 911 million.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?