Videocon Telecom and Huawei Partner To Offer EPC-LTE Based 4G Data Services In India
Videocon Telecom announced today that it has partnered with Huawei, a China based ICT solutions provider. Under the new partnership, Videocon Telecom will make use of Huawei’s existing EPC technology to provide 4G LTE connectivity in India.
EPC stands for Evolved Packet Core, which is the latest evolution in the 3GPP core network architecture. You can read more about the technology here.
Huawei’s solution will then be used by Videocon Telecom to rollout 4G data services pan India. Initially, only Ahmedabad, Indore and Panipat residents will get to taste the new cellular technology. However, the company plans to rollout their 4G services in various cities and towns extending across Gujarat, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh this year.
Videocon Telecom aims to provide 4G data coverage to a wider area so as to improve their own profits as well as offer services at lower costs to end users.
Airtel recently rolled out their own 4G LTE services to three new cities, namely Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula. Kolkata, Pune and Bangalore have already had the option to opt for Airtel’s TDD-LTE service. However, compatible handsets are hard to find in the Indian market, unless you wish to go for the iPhone 5C or iPhone 5S.
Reliance Jio is planning on introducing 4G services across several circles in India this year. They have already launched a pilot project in Gujarat where they are offering free 4G Hotspots. Videocon Telecom sure has a tough road ahead if it wants to make its presence felt among other biggies playing in the field.
4G adoption in India
Though only Airtel is offering 4G services right now, user adoption has been less than exciting. It isn’t because the data plans are too costly; Airtel is offering 4G data plans which rival its 3G plans in terms of pricing. The dongles do cost a bit, but they are a one-time expense. Poor coverage is one of the reasons as to why we haven’t seen mass adoption of 4G services in India.
The iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S, bought on-contract from Airtel, has added a small user base. Then again, unless you live in Bangalore, Pune or Kolkata (three new cities have been added only last month), you cannot enjoy the benefits of an ultra-fast LTE connection.
Reliance Jio might just change the landscape; the company aims to offer 4G services that cost the same as current 3G rates, or even cheaper. That, along with the planned introduction of budget 4G LTE-capable handsets in India under the Rs. 15,000 price range could dramatically change the market landscape in the next few years. And yes, they have Pan-India 4G license, so the city and town coverage should not be an issue.
Currently, budget devices powered by new MediaTek chips and the trusty-old Snapdragon 400 SoC offer a cheap LTE-capable phone to consumers living abroad. Hopefully, such devices make their way into the Indian market soon.
What is your take on 4G adoption in India?