Photoshop effects courtesy Wesley.

Photoshop effects courtesy Wesley.

A few days back the Indian Telecom Ministry decided to postpone the dates for auctioning the 3G spectrum in India. It had been originally planned for 18-19th of January 2009. But now it’s going to be held later in the year (If they do not postpone it again!!!)

Ani, of the S60 blog talks about another aspect of 3G in his latest post. He describes what 3G actually is and what generation is being used in India. At the end he asks a rather good question too.

Though I agree with him and his point of view. The question I will ask in the end is slightly different from his.

Now if you remember a few weeks back MTNL launched 3G services in Delhi. It was a soft launch and if you ask me, it’s nothing but an eye wash. I sincerely believe that all the telecom operators should be allowed to offer 3G services. By allowing a only a select with deep pockets to provide service is favoring the rich. At the same time the market dynamics are being changed unfavorably for the smaller players. If this is what was intended, why were fresh licenses granted to new entrants? Where is the incentive to do business, if the government is unfair?

The government has also stated that there is not enough spectrum in many places in India, while some do not have it at all. Why is this so? What is the use of having 3G if it will be available only in ‘some’ areas? Why can that spectrum not be available throughout the country?

The reserve price has also not been fixed and finalized (God alone knows whether the current minimum amount will remain fixed till the auction process actually begins!). One thing is for sure, it is definitely high. With such a high amount for 3G license and spectrum, will 3G remain viable for the common man?

Let me tell you what 3G could do for India. If you have read Ani’s post, you will know that the maximum speed possible on such a network would be close to 14.4 Mbit/s on the downlink and 5.8 Mbit/s on the uplink. The current definition of broadband (in India) stipulates the minimum speed has to be 256 kbps for it to be called broadband. 3G would mean that you could surf the internet at speeds up to 14.4 mbps. What will you prefer 256kbps or 14.4mbps? 3gImagine just because of 3G how many homes in India would be able to have high speed internet. How many villages could get connected. How much progress the country could make. On a more practical level, would it not speed up the way we look at things around us? Because of high speed internet technologies and ideas like Youtube, IPTV were born. With the advent of 3G speeds, don’t you think more innovation will take place? The Indian Government has many a times stated, that, it wants the broadband connectivity to increase in the country; and when there is a means to do it, it is dilly dallying. Additionally, by putting high minimum bid prices, it will make 3G costly for everyone in the country. As a result 3G will remain out of reach of the common man. This means that 3G will be a failure and then who is going to take responsibility of not connecting India to the world? I’m sure it would be the previous government, isn’t it Mr/Mrs. future telecom minister!

At the rate at which Mr. A Raja is delaying the bidding process, I am sure that 3G will become obsolete technology. He needs to know that 4G is already being developed and being tested and it won’t be long before it becomes a standard in a few countries. After having wasted so much time in giving 3G licenses, the question still remains, ‘Will India ever get 3G?’

Considering the way things are at this point and the way things work in India, I don’t think India will ever get 3G and I hope it doesn’t. What good would it be if only a few players could offer it and what good is it, when LTE is being developed as the next ‘G’. This new technology is slated to use new spectrum. What then Mr. Telecom Minister?

This brings me to a question that I want to ask you…
Would you have used 3G for connecting to the internet if it was already available and affordable?

Please leave your answers and comments below!

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