It is nice to see Airtel moving the fastest with the implementation of TRAI's orders
Downloading Titanic? Tired of the over six hours needed with your old 2G wireless dongle to get the movie on your desktop? From Wednesday you can download the movie in just over a minute, thanks to 4G data services launched by Bharti Airtel in Kolkata.
A new era of lightening speed was unleashed from Wednesday when the first 4G services of the country was launched by Airtel, improving data transfer speeds by 10 times of 3G services and about 320 times the speed of 2G services.
Compared to 2G services that are widely in use now, the services would be 800 times faster. "While the maximum speed of 2G dongles is 128 kbps, the ones being offered would have 40 mbps," said Bharti Airtel chairman and managing director Sunil Mittal.
However, the maximum speed of 4G services can go up to 100 mbps.
"There are only about 15 to 20 circles in the world where 4G services are offered right now. Out of these a couple of circles are in the US, a few in Europe, China, Japan and Korea," said K Srinivas, president, consumer business, Bharti Airtel.
Kolkata has always featured in the telecom world prominently. In the summer of 1995, the country's first cellphone service was laucnhed by now extinct Modi Telstra from this city.
While the 4G services would be up and running for the Kolkata circle that has a population of 20-22 million, the services would rolled out in Bengaluru in April. Next in line are Pune and Chandigarh, though Airtel authorities did not specify the time frame for the launch in these two cities.
The 4G dongles would cost Rs. 7999 and the wi-fi systems 7750. The rentals are priced between Rs. 999 and Rs. 1999.
However, 4G services would be available in only on data services - wireless dongle and wi-fi systems. It would not be available in the voice segment; in other words the technology is not yet ready for application on our cellphone handsets.
Significantly, when 4G services are launched in the voice area new handsets would be required. 3G enabled smartphones cannot be used for this service.
When 4G services are launched for voice applications, it would also need a new SIM - called USIM (Universal Subsriber Identification Module) - for the cellphones.
Union IT and telecom minister Kapil Sibal, who was present at the launch, unveiled his plans of a futuristic service delivery model of the government, equating empowerment with the availability of 4G devices among the entire population of the country.