Saturday, November 12, 2016

Indian Rural LTE Will Come via 850MHz As of Now!

Few days back I visited Harit, a village nearly 60km away from Kolkata. To my surprise this area does not have any JIO network even LTE850 is also absent there.

My perception was JIO have covered majority of Indian landscape but that's not true. There is another thing (it needs to be verified) JIO is yet launch its LTE850 network with RCom's spectrum.

However my point is India's wireless digital life program needs sub-1GHz spectrum for the better indoor coverage, wider outdoor coverage and less CAPEX expenditure for all these.

Worldwide LTE-FDD deployment on 700MHz is considered to be a global roaming enabler and at the same time it can transform the rural telecommunications by covering the white spots.

However in India the situation is different - here 2G services are also weak at places, 3G network is expanding slower than expected and don't ask about 4G (though Jio's legacy 4G-only network breaks that myth and it has quite better coverage than other operators' 2G/3G network). Debt ridden operators in India skipped the 700MHz spectrum auction recently citing the financial reason.

So as of now India's rural wireless broadband will be depending on 850/900MHz LTE roll out, while LTE900 is yet to come and LTE850 is limited to Jio and Reliance Communications.

Very recently BSNL expressed their interest on 700MHz band for LTE/4G roll out but I am very much skeptical about BSNL's move which is often hindered by several factors.