Saturday, April 21, 2012

Why No 4G-LTE Smartphones in India Yet?

After Airtel launched 4G services in India, many are surprised as there is no smartphone on 4G. There are some reasons behind it:

1. 4G Smartphone which are globally released are on 700/1800-2100MHz FDD-LTE (in USA), 800/2600MHz FDD-LTE (in Germany, Korea, Japan).

But Indian 4G is based on LTE-TDD on 2300MHz band. So smartphones for Indian 4G are yet to start rolling out. A strong push by operators is needed to create the 4G smartphone marketplace.

2. Operators cannot push 4G smartphones as right now 4G coverage is not upto the mark. Secondly Airtel does not have 3G spectrum in Kolkata, Punjab and Maharastra.
Only circle where Airtel has both 3G and 4G spectrum is Karnataka. At this time 3G intra circle roaming is under legal process and Airtel can not drag it more by rolling out 3G compatible 4G smartphones.

So at this moment 4G-LTE services in India will be limited to data card and WiFi CPE. As Airtel brings 4G WiFi CPE it means you can use 4G on your wifi enabled devices (mobile, tablet, laptop etc etc) via WiFi.

Will Reliance Infotel bring 4G Smartphones? 

That's too unlikely as RIL does not have 2G and 3G spectrum. Until new telecom policy comes up with official rules for MVNO, RIL may turn into MVNO by partnering with Reliance Communications.

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