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Launch of 4G mobile service in India by Airtel: Top facts you should know

Updated on May 26, 2016

How familiar you are with 4G?

The ‘G’ in 4G refers to ‘generation’ and 4G means fourth generation of mobile services. Mobile phone services advance from one generation to the next by adding advantages and facilities for the subscribers as well as commercial value for the operators. For example, when we moved from 2G to 2.5G and then to 3G, we came across facilities like video calling and faster data. The fast data opened the doors for online gaming, video streaming, mobile TV etc. Operators also gained by providing costlier plans which were still accepted by elite subscribers who wanted to play with the latest finds of new technology. Now when we march ahead towards 4G, the data speed is said to have multiplied five to ten fold. Many of the existing facilities will manifest themselves in their true perspective now only.

Features of 4G wireless broadband and the Indian perspective

1. Airtel has launched first 4G services of India.

2. 4G can be operated with any of the two types of technology: 1. TD-LTE or 2. WIMAX

LTE is slightly faster than WIMAX but during high traffic times data speed in WIMAX is less affected than the same in LTE.

AIRTEL has launched 4G service with LTE technology.

3. Services like high definition video, VOIP, online gaming, multiple conferencing and chatting will take effect in true sense with the help of 4G. For the namesake these services were present in 3G too but owing to attainment of less- than-expected level of success of 3G services in India, the users could not fully exploit the merits of the fast data.

4. Maximum limit of data speed in 3G is supposed to be around 21 MBPS whereas in case of 4G, it is about 100MBPS.

Data packets in 4G reach from one point to the next very fast, i.e. latency rate is very small.

5. Wireless broadband, as the service is called, enables you to avail the novels of broadband service on the go.High definition video, e-learning and education, best quality VOIP, streaming without any nagging hindrances, HD online gaming etc. are the features that make this service unique and highly sought after.

6. As of now there is no circuit switched voice or SMS in Indian 4G. For video calling, you can use free online services like SKYPE, GTALK or YAHOO MESSANGER etc. Since the voice and video quality in such cases are bandwidth shared features, they are expected to be good during off peak periods but may deteriorate during peak hours.

7. While going for AIRTEL 4G, you can opt for a (1) single mode dongle which supports only 4G data or you may chose (2) a multimode dongle, which in absence of 4G or as per your voice and SMS need, may be switched to 3G/2G mode. The dongle with backward compatibility will cost you slightly more than the single mode dongle.These devices are for those customers who want 4G surfing on the move.

If you want 4G services only for your home or office, you can go for LTE Indoor CPE(Customer Premises Equipment).

8. For AIRTEL 4G you will have to buy a new SIM known as USIM and you will get a new number too. As of now you cannot upgrade your existing SIM to USIM.

9. Voice and SMS, like that in 3G, are being worked out but currently these are not provided in 4G.

10. Regarding tariff, AIRTEL has 3 plans with monthly rentals of Rs 999, 1399 and 1999. They have full speed quotas of 6GB, 9GB and 18GB respectively. After the free usage point all of the plans will come down to a speed of 128 KBPS. A good strategy here may be to start with the lowest plan for the first month and depending on performance it may be upgraded or kept the same in subsequent months.

11. Data speeds also depend on whether you are connecting the service on a laptop or a mobile phone. You may get only 20% to 50% of the data speed while connected on a smart phone in comparison to the same while connected on a laptop of high configuration. In a survey conducted last year in US, the maximum download speed in Verizon network was found to be about 6 MBPS on laptop whereas the same service on a cell phone provided download speed of 1MBPS.

Future of 4G in India

After Kolkata AIRTEL is going to launch 4G services in Bangalore, Pune and Chandigarh. Huawei will be business partner for Bangalore roll out and Nokia-Siemens for Pune. The network partner for Chandigarh is not yet decided. AIRTEL has 4G license for Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra (excluding Mumbai). AIRTEL is in conversation with Qualcomm of USA to acquire the wireless broadband license in the metros of Mumbai and Delhi in order to reap the revenue benefit. Qualcomm had acquired the 4G license of Mumbai, Delhi, Haryana and Kerala.

Reliance Infotel is supposed to provide services in Andhra Pradesh, NE region, Bihar, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Assam. Moreover, Reliance has a marketing which allures general subscribers and there are already talks about Reliance getting ready to provide less- than- Rs 5000 tablets in their bundle offers. Bharti having taken the lead in launching the service, Reliance is definitely expected to come up with a surprise low-pack offer.

MP will be served by Augere and Himachal Pradesh, UP, Gujarat Rajasthan by Tikona.

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