Airtel became the first Indian telecom operator to launch 4G (4th Generation in Mobile Network Technology) services when it was launched in Kolkata on Tuesday. 4G services are based on LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology which is capable of offering speeds of upto 40 mbps, three times that of 3G. The services will soon be expanded in phased manner in the places that Airtel has won the licenses.
In a bid to expand its 4G footprint, Bharti Airtel is also talking Qualcomm to buy their 4G licenses.
Currently, Bharti is offering 4G based data cards, which can be used to access internet more than 3 times faster than existing 3G technology. The internet can be accessed on Laptops and PCs using these USB data cards.
However, given the fact that very few people have 4g compatible mobile phones, these services can only be accessed through data cards.
To overcome this problem, Airtel is in advanced talks with Chinese vendors to launch Mi-Fi’ devices (similar to vodafone) that will help people in India to access 4G services from their smartphones or wireless enabled phones on the move.
This according to me is a great move, especially because usage of internet on mobile is growing fiercely in India. Additionally, even after launch of 4G phones in India, very few people will be able to afford it. A 4G Mi-Fi device can work as an excellent and cheap intermediate device that will allow users to access internet not only on PCs but also on mobile phones. A 4G mi-fi device can also work as a perfect internet access device for tablets which are expected to double in numbers this year.
Compared to other vendors it is quite clear that Bharti Airtel is taking 4G quite seriously. According to the reports – Bharti is also slated to bid in the second round of 4G auctions later this year as it is eying the 700 MHz band which is known to be three times more efficient than the 2,300 MHz band auctioned some two years ago.
Let us hope that Airtel brings in this 4G device sooner than later!
What’s your opinion?