Recently, Airtel Launched 4G/LTE services in Bangalore, but it made no difference to iPAD 3 community. When I contacted Airtel technical support, they offered me a LTE Indoor Wireless Gateways. Their claim is that one can carry LTE wifi-spot along with iPAD not a bad idea for those who are travelling with all their electronic gadgets.
Technically, new iPAD now supports 700 MHz and 2100MHz LTE bands, and in India, DOT has allotted 2300 to 23400 MHz spectrum for BWA/LTE. Secondly, difference is of-course LTE technology modes namely Time Division Duplex (TDD – also called as TD-LTE ), Frequency Division Duplex (FDD – also called FD-LTE) and half FDD. Apple LTE Specs are following for AT&T & Verizon FD-LTE network configuration, and Airtel got a TD-LTE network. So all new iPad 3 users in Kolkata and Bangalore will have to settle down for a 3G network.
In India 2100 MHz band is used by defense is about to vacate 5 MHz for BWA sooner or later. 700 MHz band is used by BSNL, Defence and other disaster management agencies, about 40 MHz bandwidth is used and TRAI has recommended to get this frequency band vacated for BWA usage.
BSNL had opted itself out of BWA/LTE space, which will make private players to dominate and bring in their price plans. Further, it will be interesting watch others including Qualcomm, Infotel (Reliance subsidiary), Aircel and Tikona who have won e-actions during mid 2010, and their plans on LTE deployment. Missing harmony between spectrum winners will result in issues in interoperability, and end users will have to bare that pain. It will be similar to current TV Set Top Boxes stories, they are not portable between satellite dish service providers, though equipment are generic.
But, it’s not because Airtel which uses TD-LTE technology, iPAD which wont able to connect (as one Airtel communicated to me) but because of frequency band which iPADs built with (700 & 2100 MHz) and DOT allocated (2300 MHz). I wish, Apple to push new baseband update (aka modem firmware – not sure about other dependencies such as Antennas and etc) with 2300 MHz band offered by DOT for BWA. There is difference between India operators and American operators, American Operators spend in millions for interoperability and Field Testing. FT is also done in India, with much reduced scope & coverage. Remember they have also invested in huge for spectrum, equipment and other assets, so they surely have done due-diligence to confirm deployment obligations from DOT/TRAI/Government to protect end users like you and me.