Airtel has asked DoT to release about 25 Thousand numbers, out of mobile number series, in each service area. While the quantum may appear miniscule in comparison to the Millions of numbers already in circulation, these mobile numbers will be utilized to test telephony on the 4G Bands. The official statement from the company reads,
“We .. intend to test voice services on our LTE (4G) network being deployed at Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Kerala service areas for which numbering is required”
Airtel’s subsidiary Wireless Business Services has made the official request & wants to initiate testing at the earliest. Coincidentally, this Business Unit had won 4G spectrum, in the auctions & is legally permitted to deploy 4G services in aforementioned circles. Airtel is confident of 4G acceptance majorly because the Government had taken a landmark decision to allow 4G spectrum to be used for all forms of mobile communications including, Voice, Video & Data. This will allow optimum utilization of the high speed platform. Theoretically, 4G speeds can reach 80 Mbps. Hence it is imperative to make the best use of this bandwidth.
Thankfully, Inter-ministerial panel Telecom Commission has approved the usage of 4G for telephony & companies had augment their networks with telephony capabilities if they fork out additional Rs. 1,658 Crores (US$ 277 Million) for a pan-India service.
Will Airtel be the first company to offer such comprehensive 4G package? While Airtel has strategically secured its position in multiple circles by owning controlling stake in Qualcomm’s India operations, Reliance Jio has been building up a similar structure to offer 4G based services. This company too is testing similar processes & incidentally, it has won spectrum allocation in 22 Circles for 4G operations.
With 4G set to offer a complete communications package, will we see older platforms like 2G & 3G go into oblivion?