India’s nationwide LTE plans, conceived during the country’s 4G auctions last year, is coming alive. India’s approach to 4G – TD-LTE (Time Division Long Term Evolution) – is expected to grow into a global force. The world’s second largest telecommunications market is about to enter hyperspace, jumping from 2G directly to Go Fast.
Only nine million of India’s 1 billion people have access to broadband. India’s Department of Telecoms hopes the country will have about 48 million broadband users by 2012, and 100 million by 2014.
The country was divided into 23 circles when the mobile phones were introduced in the country. Separate licenses were given out for each of the circles in 1994. The circles were classified as Metros, A, B or C depending upon the revenue potential.
Winners of the 2.3GHz Indian broadband spectrum, including Reliance Infotel, Bharti Airtel and Qualcomm India are talking to vendors of TD-LTE gear, like Samsung, ZTE, and Huawei. Checks are being cut.
Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) has indefinitely postponed its WiMax plans for Delhi and Mumbai, the two metro markets where it offers services. Instead it’s going with LTE TDD rather than WiMax. Same deal with State-owned operator, BSNL.
This month, Augere Networks awarded a TD-LTE rollout contract to Ericsson, to cover consumers in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh under its ZOOSH brand. Incumbent Bharti Airtel has been reported to be close to handing out its own TD-LTE deals to ZTE, Huawei, Ericsson and NSN.
India and China are both adopting TD-LTE as their broadband standard. With an accumulated population of 2.5 billion, the rest of the world can only follow.
India’s Department of Telecom has awarded Qualcomm a 2.3 GHz operating license in India for which it had paid almost $ 1 billion. Qualcomm will use TD-LTE (Time Division Long Term Evolution) through a single subsidiary.
Reliance Industries is planning a similar TD-LTE roll out on its nationwide 4G network by early next year, scaling it up to a countrywide network by the middle of 2012. The Economic Times reports that the company plans to offer 4G-enabled data cards and tablets at very low prices to hook customers. Last year RIL showcased the results from its first field trial of TD-LTE technology using ST Ericsson dongles.
India’s Bharti Airtel is also going TD-LTE, and signed the biggest TD-LTE contract to date with China’s ZTE. Chinese OEMs, such as ZTE and Huawei have led the way in TD-LTE, along with Samsung and AlcaLu.
China Mobile, which plans a nationwide committment to TD-LTE, built a major showcase network at last year’s Shanghai Expo. It recently attracted Clearwire, which plans migrations to TD-LTE and LTE-Advanced, to a carrier alliance which aims to foster a device ecosystem.
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