Indian telco Videocon Mobile Services will launch 4G services in July 2013 in the 1800 MHz band, according to a report by The Telegraph. Videocon will make use of the spectrum it has won in the auction in November 2012 for the telecom circles of Bihar and Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh (East and West) and Gujarat.
The 1800 MHz frequency band is being used for voice services, but the spectrum licenses sold by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) are paired and liberalised. So operators can roll out newer generations of standards on it and can offer 2G, 3G, or 4G services on the same spectrum band. The 4G generation of mobile phone communication standards allows users to do enjoy high speed applications such as streaming high definition (HD) videos and playing games online. Using the same spectrum resources on 4G LTE, telecom service providers can gain higher efficiency.
Another telco to offer 4G in India
Bharti Airtel is the only telco in India currently providing 4G services. Airtel offers 4G services in Kolkata, Bengaluru and Pune. Tikona Digital, Infotel and Aircel are set to debut their 4G services in India in the latter half of this year.
Arvind Bali, director and CEO, Videocon Mobile Services, was quoted by the telegraph as saying, “Following a successful spectrum allocation, we seek to provide subscribers with enhanced 4G network across the newly won circles in the second half of 2013 which will enable deliverance of best services and great value-for-money products to consumers.” He said that the company currently holds a market share of 15-18 percent in Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh circles.
In related news, we recently reported that Bharti Airtel is seeking government approval to test voice services on its 4G networks. An Airtel spokesperson said, “Airtel has the advantage of pan-India 2G and 3G networks while offering services on its 4G network. We are in the process of formulating test plans for voice over 4G as per the 3GPP standard. Airtel has the flexibility and choice of implementing either or both — 2G/3G and VoLTE — depending on the device penetration in India, going forward.” As per figures presented in September 2012, Airtel registered 3,180 TD-LTE subscribers through its 4G network in Kolkata and Bangalore since the launch of the service. Airtel offers Broadband TV and Games On-Demand to its 4G customers as well as add-on packs calls ‘Smartbytes’.
Another player Infotel Broadband, owned by Reliance Industries, is close to getting approval from the DoT for testing voice services on this platform. A DoT committee recommended that the telco be permitted to test 10,000 connections for 4G voice services along with as many mobile numbers.
It remains to be seen if the rate of adoption of 4G matches the industry's expections, as the success of 3G services has been spotty.