Bharti Airtel has now officially announced the shutdown of 3G network in Maharashtra and Goa telecom circle. This closure of 3G services is part of Airtel's plan to phase out 3G technology and only offer high-speed 4G and 2G services to the customers. Airtel mobile broadband services shall be now available on high-speed 4G network, said the telco in a press statement. Do make a note that the Airtel has only announced the shutdown of 3G network in Maharashtra & Goa circle, excluding Mumbai. For the unaware, Mumbai is a separate telecom circle which is part of the 22 telecom circles in the country.
Airtel Will Continue to Provide 2G Services in Maharashtra & Goa
While Bharti Airtel has phased out the 3G network in the circle, it confirmed the availability of 2G services to the customers. Airtel will continue to provide 2G services in Maharashtra (excluding Mumbai) and Goa to serve the connectivity needs of customers on feature phones, added the telco. Unlike Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel is a GSM operator and it's continually working towards becoming an LTE-only operator. The entire customer base of Reliance Jio uses the 4G network, but that's not the case with Bharti Airtel as the telco has just 40% of 4G network users. And the rest is 2G and 3G. Thankfully, the closure of the 3G network in multiple circles means the users are getting migrating to 4G network.
As for the technical details, Airtel has re-farmed 2100Mhz band, that was being used for 3G to further strengthen its 4G network. The company has now deployed L2100 technology to complement its existing 4G services. The re-farming of existing 3G spectrum for 4G will further boost the network capacity and wider the network availability.
Airtel also says the re-farming process will improve coverage inside buildings like homes, offices, malls and outdoors especially. Rohit Marwha, CEO- Maharashtra and Goa, Bharti Airtel said: “The deployment of 4G and re-farming of the 3G spectrum is in line with our national strategy of focusing on serving quality customers with the best-in-class service experience. Also, it complements the current smartphone ecosystem, which has now gravitated overwhelmingly towards 4G only devices.”
Airtel Notifying Customers on 3G to Upgrade Their Handsets
At the same time, Airtel also confirmed that it has notified the customers on 3G to upgrade their handsets and SIM cards to avail 4G services from the company. "3G customers who are yet to upgrade their handsets/SIMs will continue to get access to high-quality voice services," via the company's 2G network.
In Maharashtra (excluding Mumbai) and Goa, Airtel uses a solid spectrum bank - 2300 Mhz (TD LTE), 2100 Mhz (LTE 2100), and 1800 Mhz (FD LTE) to offer 4G services to customers.
On the similar lines, Bharti Airtel already announced the closure of the 3G network in several other circles like Kerala, Kolkata, Haryana and Punjab. Besides these circles, Airtel is also working on removing the 3G network across various other circles. Recently, we have noticed the customers of Airtel in Bengaluru and Hyderabad complaining about the lack of 3G network in the cities. So it's a possibility that Airtel may remove the 3G network in the said cities very soon.