While the country awaits the auction of spectrum for the full-fledged launch of 3G mobile services, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Wednesday issued a pre-consultation paper on 4G (fourth generation) telecom services which will provide ultra-broadband Internet access.

Seeking the views of the industry and other stakeholders, TRAI said: “In order to facilitate the introduction of 4G mobile broadband services, the authority has decided to deliberate various connected issues such as allocation and pricing of spectrum for such services and issues related to licensing.”

The new 4G networks will allow users to stream mobile multimedia, such as TV broadcasts and online games, at up to 10 times the speed of 3G (third-generation) networks.

Such systems also provide access to a wide range of telecommunication services supported by mobile and fixed networks that are increasingly accessed using hand-held devices.

“According to information available, 4G mobile networks have already been commercially launched in Sweden and Norway,” TRAI said. “Operators in other countries like the U.S., Korea and Japan are gearing up to launch 4G mobile wireless broadband services. It is necessary that our country should be prepared to introduce 4G services at the earliest.

“The objective at this stage is to prepare a consultation paper for wider deliberation, so as to result in recommendations enabling the Government to take an appropriate decision or for appropriate regulations by the authority,” TRAI said.

It asked the industry and other stakeholders to give their views by March 15.

Meanwhile, the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI) has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Adviser Sam Pitroda asking for immediate steps to identify and auction spectrum for 4G telecom services.

“The 3G services in India are now likely to be available only in 2011...if the auction of 3G spectrum is held in August or September 2010. India will thus be lagging behind a large number of countries in the world. In order to ensure that we do not lag behind in respect of 4G technologies, it is humbly suggested that DoT [Department of Telecommunications] take immediate action for the auctioning of 4G spectrum,” AUSPI said.

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