Bharti Airtel CEO Sanjay Kapoor has confirmed the company will be launching 4g services in Kolkata this month. By doing so, Airtel will become the first telecom operator in the country to provide the latest 4G services.
It's notable that Bharti Airtel has won the 4G license in four circles namely Punjab, Maharashtra, Kolkata and Karnataka. The company was allocated 20 MHz of BWA spectrum in 2.3 GHz frequency band, which is believed to be suitable for 4G. China's ZTE Corp is assisting Airtel as the network vendor partner for the Kolkata circle. Airtel has already entered a deal with Nokia Siemens Networks for Maharashtra, it's learnt. Airtel is likely to bring LTE services in Pune, Chandigarh and Bangalore very soon.
Apart from Airtel, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), Tikona Digital Networks Pvt. Ltd, Aircel Ltd, Augere and Qualcomm Inc. had won the broadband auction held in 2010. Among them, only Augere has awarded a contract to Ericsson and officially announced to launch service later this year.
However, the major launch is expected from RIL, which has won pan-India 4G license. RIL is reportedly prepping an ultra low-cost tablet to bundle its 4G services. Read our previous coverage on RIL's ultra low-cost 4G tablet here.
Rumours of Airtel launching 4G services in India have been on web for a long time. Last month, media reports said the telecom giant will bring 4G services in the first half of April. Airtel, which has the largest subscribers base in India, is likely to launch its 4G services with new dongles and tablets.
The launch of 4G services is likely to have a huge impact in the country. 4G technology promises 10 times faster Internet than the 3G services. 4G will provide faster mobile web access, high definition mobile TV and other rich multimedia content on the go.
Having said that, success of 4G depends upon a lot of factors including the pricing. Airtel's 3G services are already expensive and it's unlikely that 4G will cost less. Also, 4G handsets/tablets are yet to see the light of day in India.
Do you think India is ready for 4G? Let us know in the comments section below: