It seems to be in our nature. We, as humans, can never be satisfied with any amount of storage space or Internet bandwidth. And in our never-ceasing pursuit of happiness, we are driving the development of technology at an accelerated pace. 4G is just one of the many developments in mobile networks of the last decade, and it created a small but noticeable footprint in India. It was revealed recently that Airtel has registered 3,180 TD-LTE subscribers through its 4G network in Kolkata and Bangalore.
The Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology, Milind Deora, informed the Lok Sabha that BSNL has provided 50,077 connections through 4G/ WiMAX, and Bharti Airtel currently has 3,180 subscribers through its 4G network.
Airtel is among the first telecom companies to launch 4G TD-LTE services in India. The company launched 4G services in Kolkata in April 2012, and in Bangalore, a month later. Bharti already has BWA licenses in four circles - Kolkata, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra - and 3G licenses in 13 circles in India. Its recent deal to buy BWA licenses from Qualcomm will enable it to secure a nation-wide broadband leadership through a combination of 4G and 3G, with its own networks in 18 circles.
Airtel records 3,180 4G subscribers
Airtel has expanded its own 3G network in 200 cities and offers the service in 500 additional cities through Intra-circle Roaming arrangements with other operators. Airtel has revealed that there were seven million customers who have been provisioned 3G services.
As per a report by Telecom Lead, the 3,180 TD-LTE subscriber mark is against the expectations of the market. “Recently, analysts predicted that TD-LTE subscribers will reach five million by 2013 in the Indian telecom market. 2012-13 will be the year of mobile broadband,” the report reads.
Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) is also planning to roll out its 4G network in partnership with Himachal Futuristic Communications Ltd. (HFCL), the group from which it acquired pan-India airwaves for high-speed internet and data services in May 2010. Telecom Lead states that the Indian LTE market will pick up after two years as there will be more LTE smartphone launches in 2012-13 from OEMs such as Nokia, Samsung, and Apple, as well as a significant surge in data consumption.
“In August, Bharti said its ARPU from mobile services and data services in India reduced by 3 percent and 10 percent, respectively, in the first quarter of fiscal 2012-13. Mobile services ARPU decreased 3 percent to Rs 185 in the quarter ended June 30, 2012 from Rs 190 in the same quarter last year. Mobile data ARPU declined 10 percent to Rs 40 from Rs 44. Airtel had a total of 38,660,000 data customers as of Q1 2012-13. 4G is expected to bring in additional non-voice revenues,” the report states.
Airtel is offering what it refers to as ‘Smartbytes’ for its 4G customers in Bengaluru and Kolkata. This feature is Airtel’s 4G LTE top-up service, and will essentially allow Airtel 4G customers to purchase add-on packs once they have exhausted their free benefit usage.