Bharti Airtel, has launched India’s first 4G services in Kolkata today. Airtel , which had bagged BWA spectrum in four telecom circles -- Kolkata, Maharastra, Punjab and Karnataka -- for Rs.3,314.36 crore in 2010, selected Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE to manage its services in Kolkata. The services are priced between Rs 999 per month to Rs 1999 per month for with a free quota of 6- 9 GB.

"High speed wireless broadband has the potential to transform India, provide a robust platform for building the country’s digital economy and truly empower people. With one of the largest pools of young population in the world, India will see massive growth in consumption of data and content over mobile devices and proliferation of mobile commerce. I look forward to Airtel playing a pivotal role in shaping this exciting future for India," Bharti Airtel, Chairman Sunil Mittal said.

Airtel plans to launch its 4G services in Bangalore within 30 days. Bharti and its rivals paid a total 385.43 billion rupees to buy fourth-generation (4G) wireless broadband spectrum in a 2010 government auction, which saw bids at much higher prices than initially expected.

What is 4G?

4G is short for Fourth (4th) Generation Technology which is an extension on 3G and 2G connection. What 4G technology will basically bring is high speed internet (upto 5 times faster than 3G). Compared to the existing 3G services that allow downloads speeds of up to 21 mbps (mega bytes per second), 4G allows download speeds of “upto 100 mbps’

This basically translates into high definition video streaming and instant photo and video downloads. It will also facilitate quicker uploads.

This move will help in bridging the digital divide and add to economic growth in rural areas by enhancing the reach of e-governance, e-health and e-education services.