3G: What, how and when in India.

3G: What, how and when in India.

What: 3G is the third generation of mobile phone standards and technology. It superseeds 2G but preceds 4G. 3G technologies enable network operators to offer users a wider range of more advanced services while achieving greater network capacity through improved spectral efficiency after acquiring more band width permission from Government or its agencies. Services include wide-area wireless voice telephony, video calls, and broadband wireless data transfer, all in a mobile environment. Additional features also include HSPA data transmission capabilities able to deliver speeds of upto 14.4Mbit/s on the downlink and 5.8Mbit/s on the uplink.

i) In Japan branded FOMA: in May 2001 by NTT DoCoMo, first commercial launch of 3G was also by NTT DoCoMo in Japan on October 1, 2001.

ii) In Europe: in December 2001 first commercial network opened by Manx Telecom,

iii) In United States: in October 2003, first commercial 3G network was started by Monet Mobile Networks. It was also on CDMA2000 1x EV-DO.

iv) In Australia: in April 2003, by Hutchison Telecommunications..............................................................


Launch of 3G networks was delayed in some countries by the higher costs of additional spectrum licensing fees. In many countries, 3G networks do not use the same radio frequencies as 2G or 2.5G (EDGE), so mobile operators must build entirely new networks and license entirely new frequencies; an exception is the United States where carriers operate 3G service in the same frequencies as other services. In India too, frequency allotment has not yet been done. By mid of 2007 the 200 millionth 3G subscriber had been connected. Out of 3 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide this is only 7% (approx.). In the countries where 3G was launched first - Japan and South Korea - over half of all subscribers use 3G. In Europe the leading country is Italy with a third of its subscribers migrated to 3G. Other leading countries by 3G migration include UK, Austria, Australia and Singapore at the 20% migration level.

EDGE (2.5G) Vs 3G:

Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE), Enhanced GPRS (EGPRS) is a technology that allows faster data transmission than traditional GSM networks. EDGE/EGPRS is implemented as a bolt-on enhancement for 2G and 2.5G GSM and GPRS networks, making it easier for existing GSM carriers to upgrade to it. EDGE is a enrichment to GPRS and can function on any network with GPRS deployed on it, provided the carrier implements the necessary upgrade.
Although EDGE does not require any hardware or software changes to be made in GSM core networks or base stations must be modified. EDGE compatible transceiver units must be installed and the base station subsystem needs to be upgraded to support EDGE. New mobile terminal hardware and software is also required to decode/ encode the new modulation and coding schemes and carry the higher user data rates to implement new services.

Edge is behind 3G but not too far away from it. In India too, some operators are providing EDGE networks. Fast data transfer like video streaming, accessing internet can be done using these networks. Only higher internet surfing and video calling etc. is not possible through EDGE. This network is available in major cities in India with major operators. Even Youtube videos can be viewed using EDGE network. Many internet users report an average downloading speed of upto 30Kbps using these networks.

How and When:

Like China, Indian Government has also announced its interest in alloting spectrum to telecom operators to provide 3G services in India too. Whereas till now no policy has been declared. It is believed that a 3G policy will be on table by October this year. After declaration of 3G policy, it will be the turn for allotment of 3G spectrum. Some international bidders also participate in it, it is planned. But the Government has assured public telecom operators MTNL & BSNL that will be given additional spectrum for 3G provided that they will pay license fees equal to that of highest bidder in auction. As per reliable sources, an established operator has planned to provide 3G network plan for Rs.1300 per month. It will be worth while we wait and watch for this another mobile revolution in terms of data transfer.

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