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4G is niche and 3G is more mass market, says Airtel’s Gopal Vittal

Airtel India CEO Gopal Vittal is of the opinion that 4G services are niche and are more for high value customers in India right now. During the company's recent earnings conference call after announcing the company's Q4-FY14 results, he said that 3G will be more mass market, but both technologies will co-exist over the next three years. Vittal blamed the slow uptake of 4G on the device ecosystem. He said that 3G will be the leading contributor to incremental data growth in the next three years. The telco also hasn’t disclosed any specific information on its 4G connection base this quarter. In the previous quarter, Airtel had claimed to have crossed the 100,000 mark in the country. It is not clear why the company stopped reporting the number of 4G connections this quarter, perhaps the increase in numbers were not significant enough. Is this DTH vs IPTV all over again? When DTH vs IPTV was still a talking point in 2009, Airtel's President for Mobile Services Atul Bindal had told Medianama that DTH was a mass market entry for the company. They were looking at IPTV merely as a way to boost broadband usage than as a generational shift. Eventually IPTV became an afterthought and hardly gets a mention anywhere in company's promotional activities. It is not clear if Airtel's 4G remark is with similar intentions, but the company seems to be taking a wait and watch approach from the looks of it. Blame it on the ecosystem Vittal has blamed the niche status on 4G device ecosystem, which according to him…

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