A great deal of secrecy has been maintained by Reliance Industries about its 4G plans. But the director general of COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India) Rajan S Mathews has confirmed that Reliance is going ahead with plans to launch its network starting December this year.
Speaking to The Mobile Indian, Mathews said, “First BWA network roll-out will happen by December this year, with Reliance Industries taking the lead, followed by operators like Airtel and others who will launch the service by the first quarter of 2012 (December to March).”
He added, “The choice of technology is LTE, but with security clearance and lack of devices for LTE, the launch plans have not been announced so far. However, most of these issues have been resolved and the roll-outs will commence shortly.”
Both LTE and WiMax, called 4G or BWA technology, offer very high speed wireless broadband access at theoretical speeds greater than 100 Mbps; while users can access real speeds of 10 Mbps on these networks. What is also good is the fact that LTE is backward compatible with both GSM and CDMA networks.
During the BWA (broadband wireless access) spectrum auction held in June this year, Infotel Broadband Services (now owned by Reliance Industries) won licenses for 22 circles while Aircel won eight, and Bharti Airtel and Qualcomm won four circles each, Tikona won five and Augere managed one.
So far no operator except Qualcomm (which is a technology vendor and participated only to ensure support for LTE technology) has made the choice of technology clear. However, LTE is clearly the more preferred of the two 4G technologies. WiMax is the other but it is losing out to LTE as some established WiMax players like Sprint in the USA are moving to LTE.