Telecom operators in India are gearing up for a drive in 4G LTE coverage throughout the country, with subscribers said to be keen to adopt the technology to satiate their need for mobile internet.
As the International Business Times reports, India is the fastest-growing country in the Asia-Pacific region for smartphone sales, but 4G is currently just a fraction of the market. However, it's estimated that by the end of 2015, the country will have as many as 15 million 4G connections.
Analysts say carriers are desperate to get the first-mover's advantage after recognising that more Indians expect to do more on their smartphones – tasks which 3G is unlikely to be sufficient for them to carry out.
"Next year, we are going to be very aggressive in the 4G value proposition for the end user," Rick Osterloh, Motorola's chief operating officer, told Economic Times in a recent interview.
China's handset makers, particularly Xiaomi Inc. and Huawei Technology Co. Ltd., are also expected to try and capitalise on the anticipated growth, while local startups are not likely to pass up on a slice of the pie.
Tarun Pathak, a senior analyst in New Delhi with Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Technology Market Research, points out how sub-$150 4G smartphones are already available to customers, which shows "a positive trend for the 4G services".
IBT says the rush to 4G in India isn't surprising, given the country's rising class of urban professionals, often themselves employed in the tech industry, which is driving big demand for social media platforms and apps that add value to their working lives.
India has the highest number of Facebook and Twitter users of any country outside of the U.S. Over-the-top instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp, which Facebook acquired this year, are also very popular among individual users and small businesses.