3G:The Untold Story and
What it means to a Mobile User
By Hitesh Raj Bhagat
(Dec 11, 2008) is a big day. Third generation or 3G mobile
networks are finally here, for MTNL users in parts of Delhi
and NCR. Mumbai will follow as soon as the pilots in Delhi
has been making do with ancient mobile technology for long
now. The current Second generation or 2G networks were designed
to carry only voice, which does not require high data transfer
speeds. With the advent of new technologies -- video streaming,
mobile TV and mobile gaming, higher transfer speeds were necessary.
MTNL and BSNL have a head start over private players when
it comes to 3G. As MTNL and BSNL get ready, most private players
will be in a position to offer 3G services only towards the
end of second quarter of 2009. MTNL is already tying up with
service providers to enable different 3G services.
you've ever used data on our standard networks before, you'll
be well aware of the real-world download speed of about 5kbps
on a good signal strength and low GSM traffic. That is barely
enough to check email, surf a few websites and download a
few small files.
3G speeds, however, the story is different.
transfer speeds in a 3G network are much faster. Simply put,
compared to existing networks, you'll get about ten times
higher speeds while surfing the internet on your mobile phone.
This opens the door to a richer mobile internet experience
- like you have on a broadband connected PC at home. But remember
the speed can also vary depending on whether the device is
stationary, moving slowly (like a person walking with a phone)
or moving fast (like in a moving vehicle).
what do you need to enjoy 3G?
firstly, you need a 3G-enabled mobile phone. There are many
in the market, starting from as low as Rs.8,000 (like the
Nokia N70). Most new phones in the market are already 3G-ready.
Then you need a 3G subscription from a mobile service provider.
Once started, you will get access to bandwidth intensive applications
and services that were until now only available for fixed
line broadband internet connections. Video conferencing with
other 3G users, live TV services, broadband internet (on mobile
and for laptops) while on the move, real-time multiplayer
gaming on mobile phones and video messaging are just some
of the services that can be offered.
rural India, there is another, bigger reason to celebrate.
3G technology especially heralds benefits to rural or hard-to-reach
areas. This can increase broadband internet penetration without
the need for expensive cabling.
Service providers have spent a lot on buying and setting up
the infrastructure. Plus for 3G, the cell towers need to be
closer to each other, needing more to cover a city. So all
the early adopters will be paying a high premium to use the
services and even after that, it's not going to be cheap.
Final rates depend on the operator of course, and call rates
should remain roughly the same. Analysts suggest that data
plans will start at Rs.599 (limited data) and go up to Rs.2,000
for unlimited data plans.
Raj Bhagat is a technology analyst with CyberMedia's Living
Digital monthly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)