Union Telecommunications Minister Kapil Sibal said that the industry needed to reflect as to why 3G had failed to deliver so far although 2G was a success.

Mr. Sibal said this while launching the country's first 4G services here. He said that the government wished to auction the 4G spectrum by this fiscal. “The real 4G will come when spectrum of 700 MHZ is put for auction,” he said.

Airtel, which had won licences for four circles in 2010, is aiming at rolling out 4G in Bangalore in a month. Maharashtra (excluding Mumbai) and Chandigarh (Punjab) would have 4G services within six months, company officials said. The launch has been done with support from Chinese company ZTE.

Reiterating the need for making the benefits of this technology available to the common man, Mr. Sibal said that in the next two years, most of the public data would be made available by the government. “We will come out with a clear roadmap for this by unveiling the telecom policy by May and the IT and electronic policy in April.”

Referring to the new services, he said that these were like putting data on a Formula 1 racing track. “The true revolution will come when devices are affordable and education, health and public services are put on a high-speed track to enable easy access for the ‘aam admi'.”

Bharti Airtel Chairman and Managing Director Sunil Bharti Mittal felt the 4G launch was a major milestone for India and Airtel. He said that he was hopeful that others would follow “the 4G technology rolled out by Airtel” which, he felt, could become “the de facto technology standard. High-speed wireless broadband has the potential to transform India and truly empower people,” Mr Mittal added.

Airtel CEO (India and South Asia) Sanjay Kapur said that the launch was possible here as the region was ready with its build-up. To a question why a 4G rollout, when 3G was yet to pick up, he said these were different applications and different customs for these services.