India's Bharti Airtel is expected to launch TD-LTE services in one state today, becoming India's first mobile operator to go live with 4G.
The operator has asked telecom minister Kapil Sibal to inaugurate the 4G network at a ceremony in Kolkata to switch on services, Press Trust of Indiareported.
A coverage map published by Bharti Airtel – India's largest mobile operator by subscribers - shows that the network will span large parts of the city of Kolkata at launch.
Ahead of the launch, the operator also confirmed that it had contracted ZTE to design and deploy the network in the Kolkata circle. This deal is believed to have been reached in October last year.
Last week, Bharti Airtel confirmed that the company would launch TD-LTE services this month, but did not provide a date.
The operator paid 33.14 billion rupees ($655.6 million) for 4G spectrum in four circles during the $8 billion broadband wireless access (BWA) auction in 2010. The company has awarded a contract for the network covering a second circle to ZTE rival NSN.
Bharti Airtel will be facing competition in the form of a pan-Indian TD-LTE network being planned by Reliance Industries subsidiary Reliance Infotel.
A company created by Qualcomm, which received its own BWA licenses last month after a protracted application period, is also thought to have TD-LTE ambitions of its own.