Lack of 4G service may dull new iPad experience in India

Thomas K Thomas New Delhi | Updated on November 15, 2017

Indian consumers hoping to experience the new iPad will probably have to wait till the latter half of 2012. That’s because the new tablet from Apple is a fourth generation (4G) device and there are no telecom networks that support this technology yet in India. The earliest 4G network in the country will probably be launched in Madhya Pradesh by May but pan India players have indicated that their networks will be ready only towards the end of the year.

Till then users can experience the new iPad only on the wi-fi mode. That’s also probably the reason why Apple did not announce a launch date for India. In US the device goes for sale on March 16 while a bunch of countries in Europe get it starting March 23. The new iPad is based on the Long Term Evolution Technology (LTE), which is 4G technology. In India, the spectrum to support services on this technology was sold in 2010 to telecom companies including Bharti Airtel, Aircel, Qualcomm, Tikona and a new entrant Augere.

Reliance Industries has also bought spectrum to offer broadband services on LTE networks across all the 22 circles. But neither of these players have so far launched the services. RIL has indidicated a launch by year-end but they haven’t yet given contract for network build out. Qualcomm’s licences are stuck with the Department of Telecom on technicalities. Bharti Airtel has announced a network roll out deal with Nokia Siemens in Maharashtra but its not clear when they start services. Augere had partnered Ericsson and had said services would starts by April. Tikona and Aircel have not made any move towards launching their 4G networks.

Therefore even if Apple does launch the product in India over the next few weeks, connectivity could be an issue. There aren’t too many wi-fi spots except for airports or coffee shops. The device is of course 3G-ready so can be used over 3G networks but then you won’t be able to get the full data download experience.

Published on March 08, 2012

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