With the major telecom operators launching their 4G data plans in several Indian cities, curiosity and speculations are rife about its performance.
On May 19, 2015, Airtel launched its 4G post-paid plan in Hyderabad and Vizag. Earlier 4G was also launched in Mumbai.
Based on the speed test, it has been found that the maximum 4G speed in Hyderabad was 21.04 Mbps, which a moderate speed is considering the potential of this technology.
The test further showed that the speed was higher in the morning. However, it dropped significantly as the day went by.
On the other hand, in Mumbai, the speed was much higher. The download speed was between 42 Mbps and 62 Mbps. The upload speed was between 5 Mbps and 8 Mbps.
Will 4G be Another Flop Show?
A persistent question that comes up every now and then is - “Will 4G make its place among the 2G and 3G data users?”
There has been apprehension about 4G considering that 2G still has a stronghold and 3G is still struggling to consolidate its position in the Indian market.
Despite the hype about 3G in the past, it did not do that well as most of the mobile users still opt for 2G plans for their affordability. Now, with the arrival of 4G, the cost of the data plans are expected to be higher considering higher investment by telecom operators to incur the infrastructure cost.
Currently, Airtel is offering post-paid 4G plan at Rs.100 for 300 MB, Rs.250 for 1 GB and more. Other operators are also expected to keep competitive pricing with only marginal differences in their plans.
Though in terms of having consistent high speed, there are still a lot to be done. For example, currently telecom companies are using 2300 MHz band for 4G LTE, which is not enough for better network coverage. Due to this, deployment cost is likely to become higher.
Another factor is the chances of market penetration. According the newspaper reports in February, 2015, there are only 13 percent 3G/4G subscribers in India. It means, rest of the population still depend on 2G networks. Such a scenario raises doubts about 4G's potential to attract customers.
How 4G Can Propel Growth if Utilised Properly
India can witness a paradigm shift in terms of faster and more effective voice and data communication if 4G networks are implemented properly along with the right pricing.
In addition, this technology can drive growth in the manufacturing of 4G devices. A report published in May, 2015 shows that around 2.2 million units of LTE devices have been shipped to India in the first quarter. Out of these, 4G devices accounted for 97 percent of the shipments.
This data shows that expansion of 4G networks can boost the mobile market and bring about a positive change in the industry trends.
We need to wait and watch how this technology creates a stir in market. It depends on how subscribers across the nation respond to it. Right now, it is too early to give any verdict regarding 4G's success or failure in the near future.
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