India is likely to witness the rollout of fourth generation (4G) mobile telephony in 2012 even as third generation (3G) service is still gaining ground among mobile subscribers.
Telecom equipment vendors and service providers are currently testing the 4G gear and technology for its eventual rollout in the country.
“The 4G equipment and technology is on trail as service providers hold BWA (broadband wireless access) licenses,” Telecom Commission member (technology) and ex-officio union secretary Chandra Prakash told Business Standard.
Under license terms, if BWA license holders failed to cover 50 per cent of the rural area by 2015, the spectrum could be withdrawn, he said.
4G would provide superior broadband capacity of up to 100 MB compared to 2 MB under 3G.
Earlier, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had released a consultation paper on 4G for high-speed wireless services. Trai had said while 3G system was being deployed in India, many developed economies were focusing on deploying even advanced networks to cater the growing need of data, speed and content delivery.
Key issues in the consultation paper included suitable spectrum band, block size of spectrum to be auctioned, maximum spectrum permitted to bidder, eligibility criteria for bidding, roll out obligations, spectrum usage charges, quality of service parameters and security issues.
Asked if the telecom sector would completely shift to wireless systems, Prakash said while the access network that connects subscribers was already wireless and being improved, the transmission media, which controls core telecom network, would remain wired running on optical fibre cable (OFC).
The Centre is mulling National Telecom Policy 2011, which proposes radical changes in the telecom sector.
Earlier, Prakash addressed a national seminar on ‘Wireless Vision: A Global Perspective & Issues’ organised by the Institution of Electronics & Telecommunication Engineers. The seminar focused upon mobility services and technology, global trend and the government policies and regulations.
He said under Universal Service Obligation, 150 million broadband connections are targeted in the next three years up from 30 million at present.
The government is aiming to lay 500,000 km of OFC to connect 250,000 panchayats.