Bharti Airtel is launching its 4G service on 20th March 2012 in Kolkata, intending to become the first mobile operator to offer 4G services in the country, reports The Economic Times.

While the details of Airtel’s rollout plans are still sketchy, the ET report claims that Bharti Airtel CEO (India & South Asia) Sanjay Kapoor had recently announced that Airtel would be launching its 4G services by end of March. Bharti had previously announced that it had appointed Nokia Siemens Networks, Huawei, ZTE and Ericsson to build and operate its TD-LTE (time division duplex long term evolution) network in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kolkata and Punjab respectively.  It had secured BWA spectrum in select circles for a total consideration of Rs. 3314.36 crores: Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab and Kolkata.

Other 4G Players

In December 2011, Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries (RIL) had also announced plans to offer low cost high-speed broadband services based on a 4G network deployment by the end of 2012.  While the company said that the rollout plans are still in a planning phase, it was rumored that RIL will be offering tablets at a subsidized price of Rs 3,500 and bundling data plans for as low as Rs 10 per GB along with it.

Reliance Industries had previously acquired 95% stake in Infotel Broadband services, after the latter won pan-India BWA spectrum in all 22 circles. RIL had said that it plans to invest Rs.18,000-20,000 crore to deploy WiMAX, and then graduate services to LTE when it matures in two years.

Before that, Augere Wireless had announced in October 2011 that it plans to begin rolling out LTE services under its ZOOSH brand, across 14 cities in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh this year and had partnered with Ericsson for its 4G/TD- long term evolution plans. The company had plans of investing up to $60 million over the next three – five years to rollout its 4G services in Madhya Pradesh. A report suggests that the company will launch 4G services in May.

State owned BSNL was however looking to surrender its BWA spectrum and had also got the Department of Telecommunications (DoT)’s nod tin December 2011. Qualcomm, whose application to offer Internet service, was earlier rejected by DoT, had got a stay on the 4G license cancellation.

There is currently no information on Aircel and Tikona’s 4G plans.

Related:

How 4G Is Likely To Be Rolled Out In India, & Break Even – Kunal Bajaj, Analysys Mason