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4G in India as early as next year–Are consumers ready ?

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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.

3G 4G comparison

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…

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About Arun Prabhudesai

Arun Prabhudesai is founder / chief editor at trak.in. He jumped the Entrepreneurship bandwagon in early 2008 after a long 13 year stint in I.T Industry. You can follow him on twitter @trakin and Facebook. Arun’s Google+ Profile

29 comments

  1. It seems there is a group of brats who can’t resist buying anything latest. Like the iphone prices whenever launched in HongKong. So, as the 2G became more economical with the launch of 3G, I believe launching 4G(3.9G) would make it easier for us to subscribe to 3G. peops who started using 3G exactly when it was launched would also start using 4G when it is launched, and hence, 3G rates might come down and become pretty affordable. :)

  2. Frankly speaking, Until the Mobile operators do not make the 3G economical, it wont really kickoff.. It is a chicken/Hen case.. coz rates are high ppl are not going to 3G and because there are not enough customers, operators are not able to reduce the rates.. Now at this rate if newer technologies come faster than expected, then for sure the operators will lose money bigtime in 3G.. I mean today mobile operators are thinking unlimited means 10GB!!??? Seriously speaking, if people are given 3G service at say Rs 199 and about 3-5GB of data or even 1000/- for about 30GB, then believe me 1000s of ppl will go for it.. I have an android but i shifted back to 2G coz 3G is not only costly but also have voice quality issues. BSNL surprisingly didnt learn from their own experience. Few days back they had come with 4200/- unlimited scheme for 6months.. So many i knew including Arun went for that scheme.. but in the end BSNL ended up cheating its customers, coz after selling so many dongles they made sure no one could renew in that old scheme and now suddenly the rates were 700/- for 2GB of usage. Thousands including me didnt recharge after that! If the operators really want to sell 3G, they need to take the first step and only then the customers will take the second.

  3. in india only one company launched 4g technology with out adds how can reach the public.

  4. 4g will b flop…. 5g (4Gs) will takeover every G!!

  5. 4g{wimax} must necessary because 3g plans is very expensive and we can't effort and speed is not better. we wish 4g should be cheaper.

  6. 3g is not provided yet in rural area as expectation are much higher than the launching speed of 3g.

  7. Sree Shankar Lal

    4G can be delivered through 2 technologies – Wimax and LTE. BSNL is using Wimax, whereas Reliance is going for LTE. This will prove things costly. If all the service providers decide on just one. Then we will be able to get it next year for sure.

  8. it might not pave way for cheaper 3G, but for a new 4G scam for sure and that too very effectively..

  9. only scam works in india…………

  10. if anyone wnna knw thn ask Me…….

  11. hey praka… u knw wut I'm gettin 3g speeds in 2g plans i.e.. docomo and airtel… hahaa

  12. I’m very interested in knowing what Indian people want to see coming to them if the 4G networks are introduced. What will be useful to you? What platform do you want to see developed (iOS or Android or other)? What advantage will high network speeds be? What will prevent the infrastructure from being set up? What applications would you find either useful or fun? Which apps would you pay for and how many rupees would you pay? Many thanks for your input.

  13. Yogiraj Telang

    3G not yet matured!

  14. Pradeepms Prajja

    going for 4th generation 4g.

  15. Praka Ala Than

    skip 3G and go to 4G.

  16. Praka Ala Than

    first fulfil 3G in india. reduce the 3g tariffs and introduce unlimited plans.Then proceed to 4G.

  17. Madhukar Gupta

    when launch the 3g services in gharghoda.

  18. Adithya Sharma

    when need lunch 4g tecnology.

  19. Adithya Sharma

    when need lunch 4g tecnology.

  20. I'd be a great mutation To the Technology world! I Hope It'll happen! And before that informing and teaching how to use it!

  21. For the first time in South Asia, Dialog Telekom and Mobitel tested and launched 4G in Sri Lanka on 6th May, 2011. Currently people can visit their arcades in Colombo to experience over 100Mbps bandwidth.

  22. Commenting without reading the whole article.. just checked the title. And the 1st thing that came to my mind is.. shdnt the ques be asked the other way ? are service providers ready to provide ?

  23. Still i don’t have a 3G phone, I will wait for few more months and will buy a 4G. Save in a 3G.

  24. Yes very true. The govt is pathetic in india to allure the public with just technologies list going inspite of the duller reception of the crowd for these.

  25. Sorry, I forgot to tell why I wrote the above about the apathy of govt. What I mean to tell is, unless the govt has the begging bowl in its hand again, it will not allow real 4G (unlike the present so called 4G which is nothing but 3.9G) to come to India.

  26. I am a layman when it comes to IT, communications related issues. However when I see the speed with which these 2G, 3G, 3.9G and 4G are being released into India, I relate it to our previous experiance. For long people were used to land lines only. Before mobiles started finding room, pagers came into picture. Very few people even used them. But now nobody knows pagers anymore. Soon these 2G, 3G will face the fate which pagers faced. Soon everybody uses 4G before some altogether new communication technology takes over. Just my two paisa :) Another two paisa : We Indians are enjoying 2G, 3G and 4G not because we suddenly became tech savvy nor because Govt thought that the time has come for us Indians to enjoy the new technologies. It is only becasue govt had no money for budgets and it wanted to survive on the funds from sale of these waves. Had the govt had some money we are still stinking with 1G, slow speed cable internet. Conclusion? Govt is still pathetic and unless its forced against the wall, it will not reform. In 1990s it was forced to open the markets when we mortagaged RBI gold and allowed the stock markets to prosper. Again now when govt has no money, it sold 2G, 3G and allowing us to enjoy IT / Communication revolution. The irony is it is taking credit for taking the country forward. Just my other two paisa :)

  27. i guess the info u got is half, even though its correct that the BWA Auction which took place give an equivalent spectrum required for 4G service, bt its still unknown if TRAI will allow only Data or even Voice on that network, & rather wat the auction winners choose, either LTE or Wi-Max…

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