The world is celebrating a new technological marvel, the third version of Apple’s iPad, which is 4G compliant. 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.
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. That’s also probably one of the the reasons why Apple did not announce a launch date for India for new iPad.
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.
High-speed broadband and inexpensive imaging can transform life as we know it and the dynamics of the development process. The government is pushing a cheap tablet, that is welcome. It is even more urgent to innovate a spectrum policy that will provide a billion people mobile broadband. The government should persuade the telecom companies to launch the services sold to them on priority basis.