|IS 4G A MARKETING GIMMICK?|
Aruba, May 13, 2016 - After initial success, data use is stagnating and getting consumers to spend additional money for high-speed internet is proving to be difficult for telcos.
The country's telecom industry is split right down the middle as far as mobile broadband technologies in India are concerned. The split is between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots'. Given that only two players, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, have pan-India spectrum to offer next generation mobile broadband, it's divided the industry on the opportunity cost of 4G as a technology.
Those who have the spectrum and capability to invest in the new technology are going after it, while the followers remain cautious about the shift as they believe there is enough juice left in 3G (third generation) as a technology.
The industry may be divided over the choice of technology but that data is the future is a given. Over the past two years, data revenues have grown 120 per cent, while voice demand has stagnated. Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications have seen data growth outpace voice revenue growth consistently over the last two years. The moot question: Is India ready for 4G yet?
Considering that some operators like Vodafone in cities like Mumbai are delivering speeds of 8 MBPS (download) and 4 MBPS (for upload) on 3G, is there a strong enough case for users to migrate to 4G? Given that speeds of 1.5 MBPS, which is considered very good for videos too, can be achieved on 3G, why should a consumer migrate? This is a challenge that even the biggest investors in 4G are grappling with, as data penetration is stagnating at 25 per cent levels. After the initial 100 million subscribers, consumers are not jumping on to the broadband bandwagon.