Mr Sanjay Kapoor, CEO, India and South Asia, Bharti Airtel Ltd explained Airtel’s strategy of Data especially 4G when 3G is yet to take off.
2G is here to Stay Five years from now, a large number of Indians would still be using 2G feature phones (probably even 50% of the base) – that would use low-bandwidth applications. So 2G data services will be relevent in India for a long time (unlike some of the advanced markets where 2G is being phased out)
3G Data Market Smartphones could become popular with falling price points. These subscribers could use higher bandwidth applications like videos, photo transfers, etc. 3G speeds would be required for these subscribers. Thus 3G will provide the immediate growth impetus to the company.
Why 4G data ? Certain consumers are demanding high speed connections – not for mobile phones – but for connecting their laptops/PCs/tablets .The only solutions to service these customers till some time ago were fibre/copper. However, fibre and copper deployment has its own negative side in India – and this is where TD-LTE fits in. Airtel 4G service will be meant to provide last mile / backhaul high speed services to stationary (non-mobile) customers. [ As I have already said earlier, Airtel 4G Is indeed replacement for Fixed broadband in India] In addition, Bharti Airtel will also invest into wi-fi hotspots at key locations.
Airtel Wi-Fi Hotpots / 3G / 4G Airtel give us one Login like Microsoft Passport for all Wireless Broadband Services [3G / 4G / Wi-Fi] and ir-respective of the underlying network where we use Data, bill it on the same unified platform. What Say ?
Sanjay Kapoor on Data / Apps eco-system
Airtel is amongst the first operators in the world to cap monthly bills – thus avoiding bill shocks. While the content / apps ecosystem is yet to evolve in India, Airtel management feels that western business models may not be as successful in prepaid markets like India. It would not make sense for developers to build a pre-paid collection infrastructure in India when the operators have already done the same. Thus, operators like Airtel will have a big cut by means of tie-up with content developers for serving apps and Telcos in India are not mere dumb-pipes 😉