According to rumours going around it had been indicated that Bharti Airtel would be the first service provider in the country to bring in 4G-LTE services and this has turned up to be true. The new technology was launched in Kolkata by Kapil Sibal, Union Telecom Minister. The first target is Kolkata which is the largest metropolitan area in Eastern India where a huge percentage of its customers reside.
Considering the fact that there are no 4G mobile phones available in the country the company have launched alternate Huawei USB modems. Airtel’s 4G-LTE is expected to be launched over a range of devices, which are inclusive of the Airtel 4G-LTE USB modem (Huawei E392) and Airtel 4G LTE Indoor Wireless Gateway (Huawei B593). The Airtel 4G-LTE enables using mobile Internet with bandwidth up to 40Mbps. Airtel officials at the launch event clarified that it requires a 4G enabled 128kB USIM (priced at Rs. 49) to use on the dongle. The airtel 4G LTE data card and WiFi CPE will be network locked. The price of the dongle and WiFi CPE are Rs. 7999 and Rs. 7750 respectively.
Airtel 4G-LTE is based upon LTE-TDD (Time Division Duplex Long Term Evolution) using 20MHz of 2300MHz spectrum band which Airtel won in BWA auction held on 2010. Airtel’s 4G-LTE network in Kolkata will be managed by ZTE Corp. In fact ZTE completed the 4G set up in a record time. ZTE supplied eNodeB and TD-LTE RAN for Airtel’s 4G-LTE roll out.
The service is s slated as coming soon for the district of Bengaluru that’s more commonly known as Bangalore. Other regions expected to receive the 4G LTE treatment are Karnataka, Punjab and entire Maharashtra, excluding Mumbai.
The tariff plans announced for the 4G-LTE services are available for both prepaid and postpaid users.The company has disclosed its tariff plans, namely, Breakfree, Breakfree Max and Breakfree Ultra. The Breakfree plan has a monthly rental of Rs.999 offering 6GB usage, Breakfree Max offers 9GB usage for Rs.1,399 and Breakfree Ultra offers 18GB usage for Rs.1,999.
All three plans offer 128 kbps speed post FUP. Airtel offers some introductory 60 days offers for postpaid plans. Customers can get money-back which is equivalent to one/two month’s rent spread over first six bill cycles like Rs. 167/bill, Rs. 466/bill, Rs. 666/bill, for the first six bills on the Rs. 999, Rs, 1399 and Rs. 1999 plans, respectively.
The big question still remains is how viable the 4G would be, with 3G still not been implemented properly in the country, is this the right time to introduce 4G or the prices of 3G should have been reduced. All these questions still remain in mind and time will give us the answer.