It has been 36 hours I have been in India, and I suddenly have a new found respect for CDMA technologies, particularly 1xRTT. Last time I was here, it was nearly impossible to find even a dial-up port that could support 14.4 kilobits per second connections. This time around however, the situation is quite different. For instance, almost everyone I have met thus far as a DSL or a cable connection with a minimum speed of around 256 kilobits per second. The pricing structure is quite strange, as the broadband services are metered and cost somewhere between $15 to $50 a month, which is quite a decent chunk of change in local currency.
But then there is the wireless option. On the advise of my friend, Rafat Ali, I signed up for a Reliance Infocom’s wireless connection. A simple USB data cable (cost $30) and a couple of commands later, I was up and running and logging on to the web at about 110 kilobits per second. Reliance’s wireless network is based on CDMA technologies and is available in nearly 700 cities. How about the world’s largest “almost 3G” network, with better performance rates than the Verizon network. And what more, it works with a Mac. I am using a Samsung phone, which is about a year old but still pretty robust. I think this is particularly good for a country like India because it is a quick way to get a lot of people on the Internet, even as the wired broadband infrastructure develops.
Reliance, which is one of the largest conglomerates in India has plans for that, and the company’s wireless division is also looking to boost the download-speeds to about 300 kilobits per second within two years using an EV-DV upgrade. That is pretty nifty because cable and wired phone lines are still pretty unreliable. On the broadband front, I have to say New Delhi is a Wi-Fi free city. I have heard absolutely nothing about WiMAX and Fixed Wireless thus far. Surprising – because every analyst in the US tells us that India and China will be the catalyst of WiMAX. Media repeats those claims. I just find it funny that Indians don’t know anything about it. Sorry about that. I found out that there is a Fixed Wireless company in India called Tata Indicom/ Tata Teleservices.