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Summary:

Matt Mullenweg, who is in New Delhi with me to attend WordCamp India, made a funny and somewhat ironic observation about the cellular coverage here, especially on his iPhone: More bars in more places. Of course, that is the (somewhat misleading) tagline for AT&T’s wireless service. […]

celltowers1Matt Mullenweg, who is in New Delhi with me to attend WordCamp India, made a funny and somewhat ironic observation about the cellular coverage here, especially on his iPhone: More bars in more places. Of course, that is the (somewhat misleading) tagline for AT&T’s wireless service.

The reason for the better coverage is tied to the large number of cell towers that sit on top of both homes and commercial buildings (see pic). These cell towers are everywhere; they’re as visible as the cable TV lines strung on the side of electricity poles. The cell tower business in India has drawn some major investor interest, and there has been a lot of consolidation in the market. Comparatively speaking, we actually have much bigger towers in the U.S.

  1. Does anyone have metrics on the number of basestations(all sizes and form) in India vs US?

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  2. That might be hard information to find, at least for now. I am sure I have some stats somewhere on my desktop.

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  3. That sure improves coverage, but what about capacity? Last I checked, the Indian government had a habit of doling out spectrum in 1Mhz fragments

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  4. Welcome to Delhi Om. Its the wedding season around here and hope you enjoy a few wedding ‘processions’ :-). That is my excuse for being out of town and missing your keynote at the wordcamp.

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  5. “we actually have much bigger towers in the U.S.”

    When I was at AT&T Wireless doing the GSM migration we brought in consultants for their real-world GSM experience and they were invariably foreign (nobody thought much of any experience to be gleaned from those who had worked at Omnipoint or Voicestream, I guess). These guys were always amazed that we had towers >150′ let alone so many >200′ in, the relatively populous, New England (you go to the Midwest and you’ll see plenty of >400′ towers). The pioneering work for RF propagation modeling at > 1GHz was done under the assumption that no one in their right mind would have antenna heights of >150′ . . .

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  6. [...] has been doing a bit of blogging from here in India: More Bars in More Places and What the Taj Mahal and Apple Have in Common. (0) [...]

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  7. In Haiti, where I’m from, 90% of all towers are on top of building. even residential houses. Everywhere you go you have perfect reception

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  8. Tower business is a pretty good residual income for people owning a house in India. In biggers cities it earns more than the usual house rent.

    Inspite of these, Home Minister Chidambaram was complaining to Sunil Bharti Mittal about the call drops in Lutyens area.

    Matt must be really lucky to get them bars.

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  9. Bigger/higher towers are not better towers. They serve a different purpose. You get better coverage but because of it, your frequency re-use is more restricted. Lower towers and antenna placement are much better for high density areas as they allow much greater frequency reuse. Some of the current DAS setups take this one step further.

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  10. Matt

    in India some village you won’t get water to drink but you will get your cellular coverage. i believe you have some problem in your unlocked iphone

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