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Historic (4G) Day for India

April 10, 2012, 7:13 p.m.
Jake Saunders, Vice President, Asia-Pacific & Advisory Services

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It is an historic day for India.

Bharti Airtel has become the first operator to launch 4G TD-LTE in Kolkata. Infrastructure was supplied by ZTE, although other Circles are supported by NSN. In all, Bharti has secured 4G licenses for 4 Circles: Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab and Kolkata.

Bharti Airtel will not have it all its own way as Reliance Infotel and a Qualcomm both have 4G licenses.

For the Bharti Airtel launch, end-users will have to rely on TD-LTE 4G dongles but that is expected to change by late 2012. The service is therefore expected to attract not just mobility users but also fixed wireless broadband users who don’t have a DSL or cable alternative. WiMAX licenses were issued previously with the expectation that WiMAX operators would target fixed wireless broadband segment but subscriber adoption was muted due to a lack of coverage, pricing and internal support from the WiMAX carriers.

The outlook for LTE looks more promising but time will tell. ​