Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why 4G WiMAX is the Essential for Future India

It’s been a dream run for voice in India. India positions itself as number two nation in new world order. However the broadband leadership is dominated by Southkorea, Japan, Hongkong, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, Singapore, Luxemburg, Denmark and Norway.

India ranked 62 in global broadband leadership scale, with average download and upload speeds recorded way below than the needs of current internet applications. The current internet visual applications require consistent 2Mbps downlink and 1 Mbps uplink data rates.

In our analysis we found that the average broadband speed in country is below 600 kbps in downlink and 300 kbps in uplink. The leading broadband nations were found above 8 Mbps in downlink and 2.5 Mbps in uplink and the access latencies were found below 80 milliseconds

Broadband penetration by number of households was estimated between 5 to 6 %. The availability of broadband networks has especially improved after beginning of Ev-Do services in country. The mobile broadband networks were deployed in top 100 cities by four wireless operators i.e. Reliance, TATA, BSNL and MTS.

The data collected from Ev-Do Networks in five metro cities imply average delivery of 300 kbps in downlink and 150 kbps in uplink. On average, Hyderabad performed best with 250-350 kbps average download speed and 100-125 kbps average upload speed and New Delhi was at the bottom with 240 kbps for download and 130 kbps for upload.

The number of broadband connections in country is less than 10 Million, which is fewer than 2 % of the total number of voice subscriptions in India. Total internet connection in India is about 15 Million as per statistics released by regulatory of India, representing less than 1% of total population.

The principal challenges in delivering broadband to masses are excessively high right way charges, fragmented cable operators, non cooperation in last mile copper unbundling and low data ARPU. The total amount of spectrum allocated by regulators for broadband application in country was too little to support proliferation of broadband services.

The new 3G/BWA spectrum and the advent WiMAX and LTE based 4G technologies will play crucial role in shaping broadband industry in India. Our analysis in this paper exemplifies the competence of 4G technologies like WiMAX and LTE to deliver broadband in most competitive manner. 4G technologies has the potential to bridge the digital data gap in India and will play very similar role what 2G technologies played in Voice.

A need for strong national broadband policy is felt to foster social and economic development in India and accomplish broadband leadership. Analysis presented in the paper estimates allocation of at least 270 MHz of new spectrum in next five years and over 450 MHz of spectrum in next 10 years for broadband applications would be inevitably required to take India to top broadband nations.

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