Bharti official highlights areas of concern for India’s 4G development

27 Feb 2014

Gopal Vittal, the CEO of Bharti Airtel, India’s largest cellco by subscribers, has highlighted a number of issues blighting India’s nascent 4G market, saying that Long Term Evolution (LTE) will ‘not be significant’ in India until prices for 4G terminals drop below USD100. Mobile World Live quotes the CEO as saying that the limited availability of compatible devices was restricting the potential for growth in the 4G space: according to Vittal, of India’s nearly 900 million wireless subscribers only 130 million had mobile internet access, of which only 67 million users had smartphones. Vittal went on to say that the available spectrum was insufficient to support the number of players in the market: ‘the spectrum we have – supplied to all operators – is about 40% of the global average. Making the situation worse is that eight to nine operators share it, leading to extremely fragmented spectrum holdings.’ Finally, the CEO commented on the limited footprint of fibre-optic networks in the country, noting that just 5%-10% of base stations were hooked up to fibre, a necessity for reliable high-speed wireless broadband services.

India, Bharti Airtel