05:43 pm - Friday 28 April 2017

Airtel brings 4G-LTE to Kolkata

By Gaurav Maurya - Tue Apr 10, 11:56 am

Sticking with the schedule, Bharti Airtel has finally launched the much awaited 4G LTE services in Kolkata today. Union minister for telecommunications and IT Mr. Kapil Sibal inaugurated the services that will support high upload-download speeds for mobile broadband. ZTE is providing the technical expertise in this respect to the Airtel.

Stating the launch of 4G as another milestone for Indian telecommunication sector Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said, “Airtel has achieved another major milestone after firming up the telecom revolution in India from past 15 years. The company has set the technology trends in India by aligning with the global standards. We are delighted to now provide leadership in setting the technology standard for 4G services in India by introducing the cutting edge TD-LTE.”

The launch of 4G services in India are in tandem with the global deployment pace of this latest technology around the globe. It is notable in this context that India despite having world’s second largest telecom consumer base lagged behind a decade in terms of rolling out of 3G services. But, 4G LTE roll out has been carried out well in time.  The launch will trigger a new phase of accelerated equitable and inclusive economic growth through proliferation of broadband services as envisioned by the draft National Telecom Policy.

After Kolkata, Airtel intends to further expand the 4G gamut in Maharashtra, Punjab and Karnataka. Nokia Siemens is building and will manage Bharti’s TD-LTE network in Maharashtra via a contract reportedly worth $132 million.

Hoping for further additions in this technology, Mittal said that “Other players in the same segment are expected to speed up their processes for 4G deployment in the country in coming future.”

He also thanked all the stakeholders for putting up their efforts to live up to government’s vision of enabling of advance broadband services in the country that will further boost up economic growth.

Mittal said, “I would also like to thank the Government of West Bengal for their support and cooperation that has made this launch possible and once again reiterate our commitment to participate in the development of the state.”

“High speed wireless broadband has the potential to transform India, provide a robust platform for building the country’s digital economy and truly empower people. With one of the largest pools of young population in the world, India will see massive growth in consumption of data and content over mobile devices and proliferation of mobile commerce. I look forward to Airtel playing a pivotal role in shaping this exciting future for India.” Mittal added.

Compared to the existing 3G services that allow downloads speeds of up to 21 mbps, 4G allows download speeds of upto 100 mbps. 2G networks have much a slower speed of 144 kbps.

The GSM Association this week announced that India will become the second largest mobile broadband market within the next four years, with 367 million connections expected by 2016. That will place India above the United States, which will account for 337 million mobile broadband connections by 2016. China will lead the rankings with 639 million connections in the same period.
The GSMA said India now has more than 10 million HSPA connections, and that number is expected to grow a stunning 900 percent to more than 100 million connections in 2014. At that time, India will be the largest HSPA market worldwide, surpassing China, Japan and the U.S.

However, despite all the promises and claims, it would be interesting to see how customers react to this new development as even after around two years of deployment of 3G services, operators are finding it difficult to offer the promised deliverables along with battling on the financial front due to low ARPUs, lack of innovation in VAS offerings and the debt that was laden while paying for 3G and additional spectrum.

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