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Telecom giants launch India's first 4G phone

Last updated on: October 17, 2012 11:42 IST

Telecom giants launch India's first 4G phone

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BS Reporters in New Delhi

Telecom operator Bharti Airtel, device and telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies and chipset maker Qualcomm on Tuesday kicked off a new phase in India's 4G roadmap, by launching India's first multi-mode LTE TDD smartphone, or 4G phone.

The phone would work on 2G, 3G and 4G networks seamlessly. This means with 4G technology, consumers can use the phone for calls and high-speed internet with a speed ten times more than that possible through 3G.

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Image: Huawei Ascend P1 LTE.
Photographs: Courtesy, Huawei.

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The phone, the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE, would run on Airtel's 4G network. Currently, Airtel, the only 4G operator in the country, offers 4G services in Kolkata and Bangalore. It holds 4G licences for eight telecom circles.

"We hope the product would be available for consumers in a couple of weeks," said K Srinivas, head (consumer business), Airtel. He, however, declined to specify the price of the product.

Senior company sources said it was a premium phone and would be priced at about $500. It is expected Airtel would bundle the phone with some usage minutes. 

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Image: Huawei Ascend P1 LTE.


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The P1 LTE features a 4.3-inch AMOLED display, with a resolution of 960 540 pixels, a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor of 1.5GHz, 1 GB of RAM, 4GB of internal memory, a microSD card slot, an eight-megapixel rear camera and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.

The phone runs on the Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system and has the custom Huawei skin and a 1,800-mAh battery.

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Image: Huawei Ascend P1 LTE.
Photographs: Courtesy, Huawei.

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The device is already available in the UK, South America, Japan and Saudi Arabia. To be used on the Indian LTE band, which is different from most other countries, the device had to be tweaked.

The device, which runs on a Qualcomm chipset specifically made for India, is not locked to the Airtel network.

Availability of devices has been a key constraint in the 4G LTE segment, in which average prices range from Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000. Qualcomm is working with device manufacturers to introduce cheaper 4G LTE phones.

It is believed Reliance Infotel, Airtel's key rival in the 4G space, is considering a cheaper alternative - a small Wi-Fi card connected to the backend of a 4G network. This would allow access to high-speed internet, even with Wi-Fi enabled 2G handsets.

 



Image: Huawei Ascend P1 LTE.
Photographs: Courtesy, Huawei.

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