4G Battleground: Reliance Jio vs Incumbents – Part 1 (Airtel)

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Reliance Jio, which is a telecom arm of Reliance Industries that’s headed by Mukesh Ambani, is expected to be launched in the next four months, but the showtime on the 4G turf has been started already. Incumbents – Airtel, Vodafone and Idea – are not accepting the fear of Jio’s disrupting strategy. Analysts believe that they would take a toll on revenues as well as growth once Reliance Jio launches for consumers.


Among those incumbents only Airtel seems to be on a stronger ground as they already have 4G presence in nine circles (after acquisition of Qualcomm and Augere), and they have announced rollout of TDD-LTE in more than 296 towns across the country.

Airtel was the first mobile operator in India to launch 4G LTE on a commercial basis. In April 2012, Airtel announced its first 4G market, Kolkata, but high tariff plans and hefty device cost caused Airtel to miss the first movers advantage. However, the situation has changed now. Reliance Jio is now an unavoidable threat, so Airtel is now offering 4G services at 3G prices. Also, there are several low-cost 4G LTE smartphones that will help Airtel to push its 4G data services to its customers.

Also read: Vodafone India confirms that it will launch its 4G services by end of the calendar year 2015

Consumers are now aware of 4G, thanks to Airtel’s eye catching campaigning and continuous launch of pocket friendly 4G smartphones. It recently collaborated with smartphone brands like Samsung, Xiaomi, and OnePlus to offer its 4G services with new smartphone launches. People now know that 4G has been launched in the country, so they are eager to try it. Even Twitter trends include #Airtel4G these days, and that’s proves something about the telcos popularity.

Also read: Idea to join 4G league by 2016, will launch it services in phased manner

At-A-Glance: Airtel 4G TDD-LTE

  • 20MHz spectrum in 9 circles.
  • Launched India’s first 4G service in Kolkata in 2012, but missed the first mover advantage.
  • Second wave of 4G came in at a proper time with wider coverage of 296 towns.
  • Low-cost 4G smartphones are launched in the market.
  • Backed by huge customer base.
  • Smooth customer care service.
  • 4G services at 3G price, which attracts customers to Airtel 4G.

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