A 4G primer WhAt is 4G? 4G stands for fourth generation, the wireless technology standard that’s considered the successor to the 3G, or third-generation, high-speed, mobile telecom standard. The key difference is that it’s designed for wireless or mobile data services using spectrum or airwaves more efficiently, enabling speeds of as much as 100 mbps (megabits per second) theoretically. Typically, 4G technologies don’t work on the switching systems used in mobile telephony but are deployed on Internet Protocol (IP)based systems. Compiled by Shauvik Ghosh Who else Will lAunch 4G services in indiA?
Reliance Infotel Ltd is the only operator with spectrum across the country. The firm is expected to launch services using the same TD-LTE technology by the end of the June quarter. Aircel has the second-highest number of BWA circles. The telco announced it successfully tested the technology in September and will launch services soon. It has spectrum in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Assam, the North-East and Jammu and Kashmir. Tikona already has a relatively strong broadband subscriber base with a million customers using unlicensed spectrum.
It’s expected to launch 4G in Gujarat soon, using LTE. The firm also has spectrum in Uttar Pradesh (east and west), Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. Qualcomm is considered the owner of the TD-LTE standard. The firm hopes to use its India experience as a showcase of the technology to the world. The company has teamed up with Tulip Telecomand Global Holding Corp (which owns telecom tower company GTL Infrastructure Ltd), allowing it to get licences to operate BWA spectrum in Delhi, Mumbai, Kerala and Haryana last month.
Augere has spectrum in Madhya Pradesh and is expected to launch TD-LTE services this quarter. hoW does it Work? There are essentially two kinds of 4G technology—the older Wimax (worldwide interoperability for microwave access) and the newer LTE (long term evolution). LTE is of two kinds—time division (TD) and frequency division (FD). India and China are deploying the TD version while operators in 18 other countries have launched the FD version. 4G uses spectrum more efficiently with a Mimo (multiple-input multiple-output)based technology with multiple antenna.
LTE is designed to act as an overlay to existing 2G and 3G networks, enabling a user to fall back to the older standard when a 4G network is unavailable. Who hAs lAunched 4G in indiA? Bharti Airtel is the first operator to launch services in India. It did so in Kolkata on Tuesday using the TD-LTE standard. The firm has broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum in three other circles: Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra. WhAt Are the speeds possible? Based on variables such as the number of users, applications, devices etc, speeds could vary between 10 mbps and 30 mbps. G is rated at 5 mbps in ideal conditions, although user experience has been patchy at best in India. Will 4G need neW devices? Are Any AvAilAble? Devices will need to be able to run on LTE to be 4G-enabled. Mobile handsets supporting this technology are not yet available in India; plug-in dongles are the way to go. hoW much Will it cost? Airtel is offering two options in Kolkata. Indoor CPE (customer premises equipment) with wi-fi is available at R7,750. A 4G USB dongle will cost R7,999. There are three data plans—R999 for 6GB, R1,399 for 9GB and R1,999 for 18GB.