Press Trust of India,
April 09, 2012
Bharti Airtel is likely to launch broadband wireless access (BWA) services based on 4G technology in Kolkata tomorrow, expected to be inaugurated by Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal.
"The company has requested Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal to launch the service. He is expected to be there tomorrow," a source told PTI.
The company had plans to launch this service in March but it got delayed because of the minister's busy schedule during Parliament session, sources said. Airtel has roped in Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE to plan, design, supply and deploy its BWA network in Kolkata. It has potential to provide download speeds of around 100 Megabits per second when an user is on the move, and can go up to 1 Gigabits per second at a fixed location.
The telecom major has appointed Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) for building and operating network in the Maharashtra circle using TD-LTE -- one of the 4G technologies. With the launch in Kolkata, Airtel will become the first company to start 4G wireless services in the country. The company had won BWA spectrum in 2010 for four telecom circles -- Kolkata, Maharashtra, Punjab and Karnataka and had paid Rs 3,314.36 crore. The company was allocated 20 Mhz of BWA spectrum in 2.3 Ghz frequency band which is considered suitable for transmitting signals for operating 4G services.
In the same auction, Reliance Infotel (then Infotel Broadband Services) had won a 20 Mhz slot pan-India BWA spectrum for Rs 12,847.71 crore but the company is yet to announce its plan for rolling out services. Qualcomm, Tikona, Aircel and Augere have also won BWA spectrum in some circles.
Public sector companies BSNL and MTNL were allocated one slot of BWA spectrum in their respective circles on payment of amount equivalent to the highest bidder in the service area.
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