Editorial : The US gets a 4G phone , India gets the iPhone 3GS on a 2.5G Network. Who is to blame ?

Our friends in US are pre-ordering a 4G / WiMax Phone – the HTC EVO 4G.  In India , we still don’t have widespread 3G coverage. 3G services are being offered by only BSNL and MTNL currently and auctions for private players are hopefully starting in April.

Many users in India are already carrying a 3G capable device thanks to handset makers  like Nokia and the likes. But most of those users cannot use the 3G feature on the phone here. It’s simply irrelevant. Adding insult to injury is the launch of the iPhone 3GS on the nation’s largest GSM operator Airtel who has a 2.5G or 2.75G network. So who is to blame for the denial of the latest technology to one of the largest mobile markets in the world  ?

India is the fastest growing mobile market in the world but Broadband / Internet penetration  is abysmally poor in India.  For many of the millions of mobile users , the mobile phone might be their first exposure to the web. We have 545.05 Million wireless subscribers and just 8.03 million broadband subscribers

Our neighbors China have pretty good ground infrastructure which has fueled their broadband penetration to really impressive levels in the past few years.

For India, it’s practically impossible for broadband penetration to improve in a short duration.  What India needs  is 3G or WiMAX to address the problem.

Many phone makers are refusing to launch the latest handsets in India just for the state of our networks .  India is not smart phone friendly according to the India head of a popular internet company.  To add some meaning to that statement , it’s not Indians who are not smart phone friendly. India has some of the the best brains in the world who are involved in designing the latest phones. So it’s the state of our awfully slow networks which is not friendly for the latest handsets.

Applications like Opera Mini are life savers and gracefully address the problem and the statistics released by them clearly demonstrate India’ s need for faster networks. In a conversation with Jaikishan Rajaraman of the GSM Association we  learned that  the body is eagerly waiting for the 3G auctions to take place in India and that 3G is critical to future of India’s mobile industry.

All that being said, who is to blame for the current situation of Mobile broadband in India  ?

Is it the government , the service providers ,the industry associations , the spending habits of the consumers or simply bad luck ?

Author: Varun Krish

Varun Krish is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast and has been blogging about mobile phones since 2005. His current phones include the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge , Apple iPhone 6S Plus & Nexus 5X. You can follow him on Twitter @varunkrish and on Google+ You can also mail Varun Krish