Monday, April 09, 2012

Pre-Launch Discussion of 4G/LTE in India

In India 4G is to be rolled out in less than 30 days. Here 4G pricing should be affordable and must come with proper customer-friendly FUPs.

Why 4G pricing will be cheaper ? [Read my article on Telecomtalk]

1. 4G spectrum is way cheaper than 3G. 4G players got more spectrum at lesser price.

2. 4G aka LTE can be an alternative of fixed broadband. 3G and 4G both are backed by fiber backbone. 3G spectrum in just 5MHz (compared to 20MHz on 4G per opertor) and no network sharing is allowed - operators are not keen to offer good tariff on 3G as it can draw huge traffic causing choked network.

3. 4G/LTE-TD will have more capacity than 3G. 3G operators on average offer 8Mbps while LTE will offer more than 50Mbps.

How 3G and 4G can co-exist? 

As Indian 4G will totally based on LTE-TD over 2300MHz, at this moment chances are few 4G handsets will be rolled out at this initial stage. But still 3G handsets users can avail 4G speed, via WiFi. In short operators can offload 3G data on 4G network via WiFi. Even to push WiFi use they can offer extra benefits like:

  • When you use 100MB data on WiFi, 75MB data will be counted or deducted from your data account.
  • While you are on WiFi your data tariff will be less (say 50p/MB instead of 3G tariff 10p/10kB)
For 3G players like Airtel, Aircel it is a tricky business to make 4G pricing cheaper than 3G. But greenfield players like RIL Infotel, Augere, Qualcomm and Tikona can easily offer 4G tariff lower than 3G. So dongle based 4G data services will hit EVDO operators at the very first.

As LTE/4G is considered to be a alternative of fixed broadband, as Reliance Industries told that they like to bring broadband revolution. To be alternative of fixed broadband 4G/LTE must be offered in speed-tiered plans - 1/2/10/25/50Mbps plans with limited and unlimited options.

Unlimited plans can be offered like this, which I believe best to demonstrate the power of LTE.
1. Tier I : 500MB to 10GB on upto 100Mbps (i.e. maximum speed on the network)
2. Tier II : Post expiry of 500MB-10GB, speed will be capped to 1Mbps till 15GB-50GB
3. Tier II : Post 15-50GB speed will be restricted to 512kbps.

This story comes as a complimentary of 4G in India – Success Depends on Operators’ Strategy
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