Even as the government debates as to when the auction of spectrum for the third generation telephony will take place, telecom regulator TRAI on Monday started consultation for the next level of telecom services.
The fourth generation or 4G technology offers download at faster speed known as ultra-broadband and high definition video on demand among other such services.
“Yes. We are starting the process and would come out with a consultation paper to look into various issues relating to 4G telecom services,” TRAI Chairman J.S. Sarma said.
He also said that the government has taken positive steps and might auction the spectrum (3G soon).
“3G has been delayed badly ... I don’t want 4G or LTE (Long Term Evolution) to meet the same fate. Other countries are catching up with the 4G and that is why we are taking advance action,” he said.
4G or LTE is a successor to 3G and 2G standards, with the aim to provide a wide range of data rates up to ultra-broadband (gigabit-speed) Internet access to mobile as well as stationary users.
TRAI would look into the various aspects, including spectrum band to be allotted for 4G service and quantum and modes of allotment to the operators.
Asked by when the consultation paper be issued, Mr. Sarma said “very shortly.” The paper would throw various questions for the industry and other stake holders to deliberate culminating into recommendations by the TRAI.
TRAI’s move to leapfrog to 4G or LTE technology comes in the wake of the government dithering over 3G policy, that has been delayed by more than three years.
In fact a number of foreign players like the U.S.-based Motorola and Ercisson have already started testing 4G or LTE technology in various parts of the world.
Asked whether the government has sought recommendations from TRAI for 4G telephony, Sarma said, “TRAI required to examine various issues concerning 4G and we do not want it to be delayed like 3G and that is why we have started the process.
“In fact, when I had taken the charge as TRAI Chairman, I had said that we should be technologically ready. When we start is a different process,” he added.
Motorola had recently said that they would be approaching the Department of Telecom (DoT) to seek spectrum for testing their equipment.
Motorola has become the first telecom vendor to complete throughput up to 70 Mbps, a senior official working with the company said, adding that the LTE technology can be offered in 2.1-2.3 MHz spectrum band and the DoT is looking at the availability of this frequency