India is the latest country to roll out a new 4G LTE network. Bharti Airtel, India’s leading telecom company is deploying the network. The 4G service is slated to begin in the state of Kolkata. Because of the territorial and regional vastness of the country, Airtel is looking to incrementally introduce 4G LTE service in major states and metropolitan centers if the primary network in Kolkata is successful.
With this new generation mobile network, users now have speedy access to all kinds of content on the web–a major improvement on the slower speeds of the current 3G HSPA network that is the standard mobile network across India. The expansive population of India along with its growing economy should provide companies such as Airtel that are looking to tap into the fastest mobile networks plenty of opportunities for growth.
Sunil Mittal, the chairman of Bharti Airtel said, “High speed wireless broadband has the potential to transform India, provide a robust platform for building the country’s digital economy and truly empower people. With one of the largest pools of young population in the world, India will see massive growth in consumption of data and content over mobile devices and proliferation of mobile commerce.”
But despite this, a major obstacle for data plans of any sort in India is the price range. Despite the fact that the newest networks and smartphones are being aimed primarily at the targeted young people of the country, a significant number of them cannot afford the expensive data plans. This has been a problem for the 3G networks, with users across the country complaining at what they saw as obnoxiously priced data plans. The current price plans of Airtel are relatively expensive for the average customer in India (and the additional absence of unlimited data plans in India exacerbate the problem). The 4G plans start as Rs. 999 a month for 6GB of data and increase accordingly. The success of Airtel’s network depends on the willingness of the youth population of the country to endure the high data charges in exchange for a faster network connection.