4G India: News Round-up – Reliance Jio, Airtel and Aircel

Reliance Jio Infocomm’s 4G project gets a green signal in Kolkata metro areas following Mukesh Ambani met West Bengal’s CM Mamta Banerjee in Bengal Indistry Summit held in Mumbai few days back. RJIL asked for permission to Kolkata Municipal Corporation to lay optic fibers across the metro last year and had metro KMC officials at least four times but it did not work.

However it seems now the roadblock has moved out of sight as Tarun Jhunjhunwala, business head (East), RJIL has met with KMC officials, 4 days after the Bengal Summit.

Reliance Jio, telecom arm of Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries has already started laying its OFC network in other cities of West Bengal and around 400 km of OFC has been laid. In Kolkata all municipal authorities except Saltlake area disposed their proposals as it might damage the underground water pipes and telephone as well as electric cables. Now RJIL agrees to create underground maps of Kolkata including video recording using Ground Penetrating Radar and will share this data to KMC.

Reliance Jio plans to lay 750 km of OFC in and around Kolkata – 2 inch of breadth and 12 inch depth in underground using micro trenching technique & Horizontal Direction Drilling (HDD) method. The whole thing is estimated to be completed by March, 2014 with investment of Rs 3,000 crore.

Reliance Jio Testing Text Messages over LTE

Following the approval of extension of voice services for 6 months, Reliance Jio has now been granted to run trials on messaging features on its LTE-TD 4G network by Department of Telecom (DoT).

Bharti Airtel also Eyes Expansion in Kolkata

Airtel, country’s first 4G-LTE operator who introduced LTE-TD in the country in Kolkata first in April 2012, is now on extensive expansion mode in the eastern metro. The company approached to KMC to get persmission to lay 500-1000 km of OFC in and around Kolkata using micro trenching technique & Horizontal Direction Drilling (HDD) method.

“KMC had given us a draft agreement and a book with rates and fees for micro-tunnelling. We will reach a settlement in 7-10 days after our internal discussion and vetting by our legal department and expect to start off the expansion project by this month,” PD Sharma, CEO Airtel Hub, East India, said. The investment of Rs 3000 crore will be coming in months to complete the work by end of this year.

It should be noted that Airtel did not able to take the first mover advantage with 4G. Recently Airtel slashed 4G tariff and device prices to promote 4G. But one of the big problems of Airtel 4G is they are using category I infrastructure which are not able to provide that huge speed of upto 40Mbps as claimed by Airtel during launch. Currently many users confirmed that Airtel is now capping 4G speed at 10Mbps only.

Wait & See: Aircel 4G Not Coming This Year

Aircel, the mobile operator under cash crisis, is on wait-n-watch strategy on 4G as the company waits for the properly developed ecosystem. The company is still not sure about the launch, but certainly it is not coming this year. Aircel is seeing opportunity on 3G/HSPA as the mobile broadband in 13 circles where it has spectrum.

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