Ahead of Reliance Jio's 4G launch; India's largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel is now all set to launch their 4G network on Band 40 across 8 telecom circles for which they brought spectrum from Aircel at around Rs 3500 crore. According to our readers, Airtel has already started distributing 4G SIM cards in four circles including Rest of West Bengal, Bihar, J&K and Assam.
In the remaining four circles namely Tamil Nadu (including Chennai), Orissa, North East & Andhra Pradesh, the company is already offering 4G services using FDD LTE technology using 1800 Mhz. Our sources who are working with Airtel have confirmed that the company has already started deploying TDD LTE network in all eight circles to offer better data speeds. Though it's not clear whether the company would use carrier aggregation to offer better data speeds and increase the overall data capacity in those circles.
Earlier, in 2015 Bharti Airtel has already deployed LTE-Advanced network, which is carrier aggregation across TD LTE and LTE FDD in Kerala using Nokia Networks telecom gear. ‘Airtel customers in these eight circles can expect 4G network launch using 2300 MHz around sometime in August, though it will initially be available only in few cities of the circle, this would later be expanded across the circle over a span of 3 to 5 months.' A person working in Airtel network team added.
In the meantime, Airtel customers in those circles can easily upgrade their SIM to 4G USIM from nearest retailer or Airtel store free of cost. The 4G network rollout will help the company to counter Jio which has already built a great data network in those circles. Out of the eight circles, Airtel has a strong subscriber base in West Bengal, Bihar and Tamil Nadu including Chennai.
Recently, Bharti Airtel has also slashed data rates up to 67% and as most of the customers can enjoy 3G data packs on 4G networks, the 4G network expansion move will benefit the company as well as the subscribers to enjoy great data speeds. The company has also shared that its data revenues crossed Rs 3500 crore and grew by 35.1% Y-o-Y, led by an increase in the data customer base by 19.1% and traffic by 54.9%. Mobile broadband customers also increased by 68.3% to 36.6 Mn from 21.7 Mn in the June quarter last year. Also, mobile data now contributes 27.1% of their total mobile revenues in India.