Will your new iPad work on India's 4G?

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The 4G LTE that we hear Indian telecom operators talking about is TDD LTE that runs on 2300 MHz frequency spectrum, and not 2100 MHz meant for the new iPad

Click here to enlargeThe New Apple iPad
BANGALORE, INDIA: The answer is, no. And the reason is the latest iPad, called the New iPad and not iPad 3, is compatible only with LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks in the US and Canada that use 700, 2100 mega hertz (MHz) spectrum, whereas, India's 4G LTE runs on neither.

LTE is a wireless communication standard that builds on existing Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) technology. It allows faster data transmission and improved download capacities.

The 4G LTE that Indian telecom operators are talking about - including the one that Airtel had deployed in one of the North-Eastern states and also the ones that Reliance and others are talking about - belong to TDD LTE (Time Division Duplexing - Long Term Evolution) that runs on 2300 MHz frequency spectrum, and not 2100 MHz.

India went in for the TDD mode because it did not have the luxury to use large frequency band, that FDD calls for, as it is not available in the country for auctioning.

So far, India is the only one to have launched LTE on TDD spectrum although China - which has of late started trialling them - is yet to deploy any TDD LTE network. Whereas, advanced telecom markets such as USA, Japan and Western European countries have opted for the more matured FDD LTE (Frequency-Division Duplexing?), instead of its less matured sibling.

This is the reason why many smartphone makers, such as Nokia, HTC, Samsung are shying away from
launching their 4G smartphones - Lumia 900, Thunderbolt, and Galaxy Nexus 4G, respectively - in the Indian market.

“The new iPad has been basically set up for FDD, used in the US and other markets. However, it is possible that a different frequency has been turned on for India, although I do not have any conformation on that. It will have an LTE chip, but will not necessarily support TDD LTE," opined Shiv Putch, an analyst from Ovum.

Now, it is not known whether Apple has done any such tweaking for its New iPad 4G, supposed to be launched on April 27, 2012, in India. If launched, it will be the first 4G device available in this part of the world, except for the ones that Airtel had announced during its 4G launch, which at the same time lack clarity.

So, if this iPad does not connect to the existing 4G network, (Agreed, there is only one such network in the whole country), is for sure to create confusion.

The disclaimer on Apple's website says '4G LTE is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the US and on Bell, Rogers and Telus networks in Canada'.

One does wonder why should this tablet giant, which is yet to see a major competition in terms of its products, should delve into such tactic and launch the product with the '4G' tag attached to it in markets where it is not compatible with the spectrum available there. It could still have hundreds and thousands of takers, despite the 4G tag.

How so ever, this should not come as a dampener for India's Apple lovers because they can still be happy connecting the new iPad to the existing 3G networks. For, the device is backward compatible to 3G. So, as long as you are able to do what you love to do on an iPad, who cares what runs in the back-end?

(Apple declined to comment and just directed to its website and Airtel was unreachable when this story went live)

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