4G threatens to spoil Govt’s 3G party

4G threatens to spoil Govt’s 3G party

New Delhi: As India dithers over a policy on 3G mobile telephony, US’ Motorola wants to test the next level (4G) that could pour cold water on the government’s plan to raise Rs35,000 crore from selling radio frequency for the existing version.

Motorola, which has tested the new next generation technology, called Long-Term Evolution (LTE), is all set to start trial services of 4G that can offer 70 MB per second (Mbps) download speeds on a mobile phone by the end of this year.

The company is likely to approach the Department of Telecom (DoT) for trial spectrum, Subhendu Mohanty, a senior executive with Networks Mobility Business, Motorola India, said.

This development may, however, prompt operators planning to launch 3G telephony to wait and watch, thus spoiling the government’s plan to mop up a whopping Rs35,000 crore from auction of 3G spectrum.

Asked whether Motorola is talking to operators, Mohanty said, “We would like to have trial with the players but the technology can also be tested on our own systems."

In fact, the DoT is also understood to have prepared a concept paper on the 4G and the issue may be discussed at length in the days to come. Besides Motorola, other telecom vendors are also in the process of trials, industry sources said.

Motorola has become the first telecom vendor to complete throughput up to 70 Mbps, he said, adding that the LTE technology can be offered in 2.1-2.3 MHz spectrum band and the DoT is looking at the availability of this frequency.

On how superior and different the LTE would be from the 3G technology, Mohanty said the applications are growing very fast and with the data and video download explosion the performance of 3G technology will reduce and LTE would fill the gap.

When contacted, DoT officials declined to give any idea on when this (LTE or 4G) can be considered for commercial deployment, saying one needs to look into the availability of spectrum and also the viability of the services in Indian conditions.

According to sources, some of the operators may wait for this technology to become commercially available rather than investing in the 3G technology.