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With 2G & 3G, India is now heading towards 4G. Discuss Pros and Cons
The first wireless telephone technology was demonstrated by Motorola in 1973 using a handset weighing around 2 kilos. In its early phase, mobile telephony made use of analog signals to make calls and send texts and was named as 1G. The year 1991 came with its successor and was dubbed as 2G (short for second generation) wireless telephone technology. It had many advantages over its predecessor like the conversations were digitally encrypted, the system was highly efficient and data services or internet connectivity was introduced for the first time. Later on further generations were dubbed as 2.5G, 2.75G, 3G and the latest buzzword in India, 4G.
In the early 21st century, telecom companies generated revenue mainly from voice and text based services. By the year 2010, the telecom sector witnessed a major shift and the companies noticed the increasing data usage on mobile. Hence, there was a race for providing better data services through 3G and as a result the government of India made a whopping Rs. 67,000 crore from the sale of 3G spectrum. The telecom companies had bet high on 3G data services in lieu of making hefty profits off of the transformation from 2G to 3G. But just like 2G, 3G was a big disappointment too for the subscribers. Due to congestion in the spectrum, the quality of both data speed and connectivity was poor not to mention the high call drop rates. Even though the telecom companies boasted high data speeds of up to 21mbps, but the user struggled to get beyond even 1mbps during journey or moving out of range of the 3G service area. Also most of the people could only get 2G signal due to lower service area under the 3G network.
The year 2015, saw the uprising of 4G or 4th generation technology, which is simply an extension of 3G technology with improved bandwidth and better services. With telecom company Airtel spearheading the 4G campaign and being the first to launch the 4G service in India, user are expecting supersonic data speeds and it being a solution to all their internet related woes. Let me discuss some pros and cons of the same.
- Higher data transfer speeds ranging from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps will enable improved user experience and live streaming of videos and related content.
- Higher privacy and security measures with better encryption of conversations will raise industry standards of excellence and thus boost growth in the sector.
- 4G service will also make use of a multi-platform environment meaning it will run on wireless technologies like LTE, Wi-Fi, Mi-Fi etc. thus engaging more number of users on a single network simultaneously.
- On line gaming, downloading, surfing, mobile marketing, video conferencing and uploading can be done in less time, thus providing an enhanced user experience wherein user will not have to spend hours searching for a single piece of information. Consequently the number of activities a user can perform on the mobile will increase.
- The advent of 4G will decrease the mounting pressure on its predecessor 3G, which will lower the congestion in its bandwidth improve the service for existing users who cannot afford 4G yet.
- The 2G spectrum will be cheaper and thus help the first time internet users with lower charges for the services.
- The price of 2G and 3G enabled handsets will considerably fall and they will see an increase in sale numbers form those who cannot afford the luxury of 4G.
- As per Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), India has 350 million internet users and not all of them can afford the heavily priced 4G connection. Also the 4G, as of now, is only available in limited service areas and service pockets thus disappointing those who want to get a taste of the 4G connectivity.
- The companies that are hyping the 4G connections, are unable to manage even 3G properly and hence neglecting the same. They don’t want to invest in 3G anymore and as a result the 3G service is unsatisfactory and its condition may worsen further.
- The buzz around 4G and wireless technology hides the real problem of internet connectivity in India – wired connectivity, which is still ignored by the government of India and the telecom companies as well. If internet connectivity problem has to be addressed the wired connectivity needs to see investment.
- The 4G comes at a cost to our health and well-being posing many long term chronic health risks.
- The advent of 4G will see discarding of previous and older versions of devices and thus increase the electronic waste.