Bharti Airtel Limited which is commonly known as Airtel, is the largest Indian telecommunications company that operates in 20 countries with over 261 million subscribers. On 10th April 2012, Airtel launched 4G services using TD-LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology in Kolkata, becoming the first company in India to offer 4G services. Then 4G was launched in Bangalore on 7th May 2012. Now they are planning to expand their 4G services next in Pune and Chandigarh. [Update: Airtel 4G service is now available in Pune from 18th Oct 2012]. Airtel’s TD-LTE network is built and operated by ZTE in Kolkata, Huawei in Karnataka, Ericsson in Punjab and Nokia Siemens Networks in Maharashtra. Airtel paid Rs 33.1436 billion for 4G spectrum in 4 circles: Kolkata, Karnataka, Punjab & Maharashtra. We got a chance to test Airtel 4G in Kolkata. In this article we are going to review Airtel 4G to give you a clear idea about its speed and pricing so that you decide whether you should upgrade from your existing 3G to 4G connection or not.
Main features of Airtel 4G LTE
- Wireless internet access at home or your office.
- Access rich content and multimedia applications.
- Multiple downloads of heavy files & HD multimedia content.
- Higher upload and download speeds.
- Seamless online streaming – without buffering.
- High definition online gaming.
- Access business applications that require higher speeds and last mile connectivity.
Airtel 4G LTE Data Card, Indoor CPE Price:
To use Airtel 4G you need a 4G LTE enabled device and a USIM (Universal Subscriber Identification Module) which is different from your current SIM since it is a 128 KB SIM. Currently 4G enabled mobile phones and tablets will not work in Airtel 4G network. Airtel is offering 2 types of 4G devices: 4G LTE USB dongle and 4G LTE Indoor CPE Wi-Fi.internet connection over
1. 4G LTE USB Dongles
- Multi-mode (4G/3G/2G) data download capability.
- LTE network only with USIM.
- A USIM card slot to insert a USIM in the device.
- A USB 2.0 connector to connect the Airtel 4G LTE USB Modem to the laptop/PC.
- A Micro SD Card Slot to use the Airtel 4G LTE USB Modem as a memory stick.
- A self-installing Connection Manager in the Airtel 4G LTE USB Modem.
2. 4G LTE Indoor CPE ( ICPE)
- Data download with unbelievably high speeds.
- Multiple user access and multi-screen video chat (from different locations).
- Built-in DHCP Server and NAT .
- Security serve: Comprehensive and robust security services.
- Intuitive and convenient web-based management.
- Local management and maintenance services for your gateway.
All the 4G devices come with a 1 year manufacturer’s warranty.
Airtel 4G Plans and Pricing:
The Airtel 4G USB Dongle is currently priced at Rs 4999/- (limited period offer) and the plans start from Rs 999/- for just 6GB usage which is expensive for the common people & is probably the main reason for their low subscriber base. If you want to get the Airtel 4G LTE indoor wireless gateways then you have to shell out Rs 7,999 which is too expensive if you compare it with 3G Wi-Fi Routers. There is no “True unlimited” plan till date & is also very unlikely in the future. Another downside is that post free usage, they will allow surfing @ 128 Kbps which is even less than CDMA 1X speed and 2G internet connection. Airtel is currently the lone 4G player in India & needless to say that some competition might bring down their rental but till then the pricing stands as follows :
But to make 4G more attractive Airtel is proving cash back offers to new post paid customers. Airtel is taking online movie streaming to the next level by introducing Movie Catalogue of 35 movies. 10 movie titles will be available free of cost for the first month for its customers to experience the new face of entertainment over lightning fast Airtel 4G LTE without buffering, pixilation and lag. The monthly subscription for the catalogue is INR 149/month for unlimited movies. There are other value added services like Airtel Games where one can play exciting HD games on the airtel 4G LTE network with the lowest latency ever. Broadband TV, where one can watch blockbuster HD movies seamlessly with no pixelation, lag and drag. Live Devotion enables the user to watch live videos of places of worship, without even a hint of buffering or waiting.
Airtel 4G Speed Test:
Airtel 4G review will be incomplete without doing the internet speed test. Our team was invited by Airtel to their corporate office in Kolkata and all the speed tests were performed at their 4G experience zone. In this section we will elaborately present to you about our internet experience at their office. The maximum download speed was around 23 Mbps & Upload Speed was 12.5 Mbps and the ping was also very less.
Here is the Airtel 4G speed test result-
While using Internet Download Manager (IDM) to download some files , the maximum transfer rate was 2.8MBps and the average transfer rate was about 1.5MBps. We also tested Airtel 4G Torrent download speed, as expected it was also very good. While downloading from Torrent the maximum transfer rate was 2MBps and the average transfer rate was about 1.2MBps.
Watching YouTube videos on 4G connection was a pleasure, Full HD 1080p videos play without any buffering. The graphics heavy web pages also load very fast. Thus our tests include the main avenues that any internet user looks for. All these tests are demonstrated in the video below.
Speed of wireless internet connection depends on various factors like distance from nearby base station, number of users, signal strength, etc. So, as any other wireless connection, the speed of Airtel 4G was fluctuating when the number of active users were increasing. Sometime speed of Airtel 4G was dropping to 6 Mbps from 23Mbps. The signal strength was maximum at the Airtel experience zone so we got the best test result possible. However, the speed may vary from place to place. The speed test results were quite impressive but on the other hand the price of 4G device & its rental is very high & beyond the reach of many. So should you upgrade to Airtel 4G? Yes, only if you need a super fast internet connection and ready to pay huge bills. Otherwise you can use your 3G connection until 4G devices and tariff become more affordable. In a nutshell, Airtel 4G is undoubtedly India’s fastest wireless ISP (Internet Service Provider) but it may burn a hole in your pocket.
Are you using Airtel 4G connection? Please share your experience with us.