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Bharti Airtel set to launch India's first TD-LTE service

05 апреля 2012

Bharti Airtel will become the first operator in India to offer TD-LTE services when it switches on its network later this month.

Citing the mobile operator's chief executive Sanjay Kapoor, The Hindu Business Line reported on Tuesday that the network will launch first in Kolkata, then Maharashtra, Punjab, and Karnataka.

Bharti said China's ZTE will provide equipment and manage its network in Kolkata. In late February Bharti awarded a similar contract to Nokia Siemens Networks for building and managing its TD-LTE network in Maharashtra. The deal was thought to be worth $132 million.

Bharti Airtel paid INR33.14 billion ($708 million) for wireless broadband spectrum in four of India's 22 telecom circles in an auction held in June 2010. Other notable winners were U.S.-based Qualcomm, which paid INR49.13 billion ($1.05 billion) for spectrum in four circles and Aircel, which won licences in eight circles with a total bid of INR34.38 billion ($735 million).

Infotel, the only participant to secure wireless broadband spectrum in all 22 circles – with a bid of INR128.48 billion ($2.74 billion) – was acquired by Reliance Industries for INR48 billion ($1.02 billion) immediately after the auction. The move was significant since it happened a month after the scrapping of a non-compete pact between Reliance Industries chairman and India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, and his brother Anil Ambani, chairman of mobile operator Reliance Communications.

Meanwhile, once Bharti's TD-LTE network goes live, availability and affordability of compatible devices is likely to be an important issue.

Wireless Intelligence reported on Tuesday that with an average retail price of $500, the cost of an LTE smartphone is four times greater than the average monthly GDP per capita in India. In addition the average $200 price tag attached to an LTE USB dongle is around twice the average monthly income in the country.

"The current average cost of an LTE device is prohibitive for the uptake of mobile broadband for those on low incomes," noted GSMA director general Anne Bouverot, in the report.

"It is important that all citizens in India have access to high-speed Internet connectivity and the transformative opportunities it provides," she said.

Источник: Total Telecom

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