Operators may Skip 3G to Adopt 4G (LTE) When It is Ready by 2011

With the Government deciding to allocate spectrum for 3G mobile only by August 2010, some Indian operators are reviewing their strategy and looking at the possibility of leapfrogging straight to the 4G (fourth generation) technology, reports The Hindu.

It has taken three years for the Government to come to some finality on the 3G spectrum allocation policy. Fourth generation (4G) technologies could face the same fate unless India wants to catch up with the rest of the world.

The 3G spectrum auction date is currently set for January 14. Spectrum will be given to four successful bidders excluding BSNL and MTNL. However, all the successful bidders will get 3G spectrum simultaneously only in August 2010.

Even if the Government allocates 3G spectrum by August 2010, operators will not be in a position to launch the services before early 2011. By that time 4G technologies such as Long-Term Evolution (LTE) will be commercially available for operators to deploy. Since even 3G players will ultimately move to LTE, it is a nice idea to move straight to 4G technology in just a year’s time.


LTE allows more data to be transferred over the same bandwidth used by 3G technology and at higher speeds. Compared with the 3 Mbps speed offered by 3G services, LTE offers speeds of up to 10 Mbps. Vendors, including Motorola and Alcatel Lucent, are betting heavily on 4G technologies as they see a huge potential in India.

LTE allows operators to introduce new exciting services such as HD (high definition) video blogging, HD video on demand, media mobility, online gaming, and brings a significantly improved business proposition with 2.5 times higher capacity, lower cost per bit and media mobility. LTE will become the mass wireless broadband technology.

LTE is under development with a number of international players, including Verizon in the US announcing trials on their network. LTE will be commercially available for deployment by 2011 so it will make sense for some of the Indian players, especially the new GSM operators, to skip 3G altogether.

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