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India eyes 4G rollout from 2012

Telecommunication operators are working with equipment vendors to roll out fourth generation (4G) mobile networks in India as early as next year; a development which will further boost the country's broadband connections and with it the mobile TV sector.

Although 3G services have only recently been launched across the country, the network upgrade is likely to produce broadband capacity of up to 100MB rather than 2MB provided by 3G. This will significantly improve the delivery of video based services such as mobile TV and YouTube.

"The 4G equipment and technology is on trial as service providers hold BWA [broadband wireless access] licenses," Chandra Prakash, Telecom Commission member (technology) and ex-officio union secretary is quoted as saying in Business Standard.

By 2015 India's BWA operators must cover at least 50% of the rural area within their area circle or risk losing their license.

Speaking at a seminar organised by the Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers, Mr Prakash said that under the Universal Service Obligation, the government plans to boast broadband connections in India to 150 million, up from the current 30 million.

The government has a target to lay 500,000km of fibre optic cable to aid the connection of 250,000 panchayats, or self-governing village assemblies, across India.

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