I will be honest with you here – 3G has not taken off in India as it was expected to – It has been more than 4 month since 3G has been launched, however, very few consumers have started using it. Instead a lot of them have moved to 2G unlimited plans, which got cheaper due to launch of 3G services.
Additionally, even the consumers who have subscribed to 3G services have been far from happy (yours truly included). Either the speed have been slow or the connectivity has been intermittent or both. 3G has just not taken off as it was expected to.
However, that has not deterred Industry experts to already start talking about 4G (4th Generation) services. Infact, it looks like Indian consumers may well see 4G services on their mobiles as early as next year. According to quote given by Nikhil Sadarangani (of JDSU India) to media – Upgradation to 4G technologies can easily happen (from Telecom providers perspective) as it requires similar backend Infrastructure as 3G services.
However, from consumer point of view there are couple of things that need to be looked at – Jury is still out on what exactly are 4G services. The technology often referred to as "4G" are simply an advanced form of 3G, called 3.9G by the ITU. It is not really 4G per say. The real 4G speeds are expected to be in the region of upto 100 mbps.
Another important aspect from consumers point of view is Handset compatibility. Most consumers are just switching to 3G handsets, which are rather expensive compared to normal 2G handsets. If 4G services get launched in next 12 to 18 months as expected, very few consumers will actually move. The cost of 4G handset are also expected to be significantly higher.
Personally, I believe we are atleast 3-4 years away from actually getting hands on with 4G. It will easily take Telecom Providers about 6 months to year for streamlining their existing 3G offerings itself. Only after that will consumers start adopting it in big numbers.
It would be interesting to know what are readers views on this…