Fourth Generation (4G) stands for the fourth generation of mobile telecommunications technology. The technology is the middle man between 3G and 5G.
The latest technology works similar to 3G with additional mobile broadband Internet access, for example to smartphones, to laptops with wireless modems and other devices. 4G potential applications include IP technology, amended mobile web access, high-definition mobile TV, cloud computing and more.
Two traditional systems are used for deploying 4G around the globe. They are Mobile WiMAX standard and the first-release Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard. Mobile WiMAX was first used in South Korea in 2007 whereas LTE was used for the first time in Oslo, Norway and Stockholm and Sweden since 2009.
United States got it hold of 4G in 2008 when Sprint (previously Clearwire) deployed Mobile WiMAX networks, whereas the LTE service was first adopted by MetroPCS. They have gone through many transitions from complete adaptation of LTE networks in early 2012.
US is trying to build a nationwide network of public safety 4G network which would allow first responders to seamlessly integrate between agencies and across geographies regardless of devices. The latest news from the land of opportunities include AT&T signed LTE roaming agreement with EE on 17th Dec, 2013.
4G is being deployed all around the world and lately it is getting a push over in India. All the changes could be visible in the next possible year or so but the high upfront cost can be dithering to its expansion.
The advent of 4G started in India after the government allotted broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum to telcos in mid-2010. This lead Bharti Airtel to grab the opportunity and launch the first 4G service sin the regions of Kolkata, Bengaluru and Pune.
Other advancement in the 4G spectrum is done by Mukesh Ambani’s Relaince Jio Infocomm (RJI)—who completed a 120 billion(US $2.16 billion) deal with younger brother Anil Ambani’s RCom. Their mission is to deploy the 4G network using the RCom nationwide optical fiber network.
RJI also got hold of a pan-India BWA license, which clearly means it has bandwidth in all 22 telecom circles across the country. This could eventually lead the TD-LTE (time division long-term evolution) technology is expected to get started once RJI make their 4G services available.
The official word for RJI confirms their rollout of its 4G services.
[quote_right]“Our aim is to start 4G services in metros by the end of the first quarter of 2014” said Tarun Junjunwala, business head and state mentor(east).[/quote_right]
Why voice is the key to LTE adoption?
The biggest thing for any business out there is their customers and in order for 4G to spread, voice services will play a key role in creating a customer base. The deployment of the VoLTE(voice over LTE) services will see the mass adoption and proliferation of LTE.
This could reach new heights as telcos in India as they have forked up even more licensing fees. A total sum of INR 16.6 billion is allocated for the voice services for being paid to the government for a universal service license.
What’s hindering the growth of the 4G in India?
As earlier stated, the cost of underlying equipment is the main cause of the road block that could eventually slow down the growth of 4G in India.
According to the Gartner Analyst, the devices are costly ranging from INR 25,000 to INR 30,000, which clearly means that the percentage of people adapting the devices would be lower. Until and unless, more people buy the devices, there is no hope whatsoever.
Though, there are plans by the device manufacturers to launch moderately priced LTE-enabled handsets. For example, LG electronics has confirmed that they will introduce its TD-LTE handset in India this year.
Another major claw in the problem is that 4G also depends on the demand for bandwidth-intensive services.
Moving the good side, smartphones and tablets are increasingly being sold in India which eventually is moving in the right direction towards bandwidth-intensive application and content.
Even now and then, we see a positive future for 4G in India but according to reports it tough to guess when.