Airtel’s Mistakes in 4G/LTE Business Should not be Repeated by R-Jio

Airtel, country’s largest mobile service provider is not able to make its 4G services profitable after almost 2 years of the launch of 4G services. In April, 2012 Airtel became India’s first operator to launch 4G/LTE services. Starting from Kolkata, which was the first city of the country to see mobile services in 1995, Airtel expanded its 4G services in Bangalore, Pune and Chandigarh but Airtel’s 4G is never be a success story like India’s 2G basic mobile services.

Airtel 4GIn my early analysis I wrote that 4G in India can be the last mile connectivity between users and OFC network. And top cities have quite good fiber coverage, thus initially their 4G may be unseen. At the same tier 2 & 3 cities will have much demand of high-speed broadband and to succeed in that market 4G is to be priced affordable, as the entry cost (=device price) is high.

Also Airtel followed a strategy which gives them to follow roll out obligation. They cover many pockets of the cities but many places have category I or level I LTE signal which gives poor speed. That affects user experience in a way people feel 3G is better – available over smartphones, dongles, tablets etc. Airtel arranged free test drive of 4G for homes and enterprises but ultimately most of them saw very poor performance of 4G and stay away from it. Out-of-mouth reviews also put Airtel 4G in a mess.

As people are not buying it, Airtel crunches the investment in 4G – no network upgradation and no coverage expansion. Airtel launched 4G voice in Bangalore for Apple iPhone 5c and 5S, at the same data tariff of 3G. But again in Android dominated market it backfires. Airtel should look into Android smartphone supporting TD-LTE 2300. There are some options from Huawei and Xolo already available.

Well in short Airtel missed the opportunity to enjoy the first mover advantage. I strongly believe that Reliance Jio will not make such mistakes to make 4G a failure in the country. Do you think as a reader Reliance Jio can make a difference in the market when its services are launched ?

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23 Comments on "Airtel’s Mistakes in 4G/LTE Business Should not be Repeated by R-Jio"


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April 21, 2014 7:37 pm 7:37 PM

Well the 4G business hasn’t taken off due to a no of reasons sone of them being as follows
1. Too expensive from the advent so early adopters were hard to come by
2. Not many options on the hardware side
3. Network throttling by airtel to 10 Mbps I mean what’s the point of 4G??
4. Instead of 2300 Mhz probably 800Mhz cud have been better and wud have ensured superb NW strength at most places.
5. And lastly for heavens sake expand your network coz that’s the only way you can get moving forward

Sutripta Roy
March 3, 2014 10:40 am 10:40 AM
I think broadband is profitable for use.Because it has no data limit for only Rs.400 in a month in Kolkata.So,why I use 3g or 4g? If I need Speed I’ll take higher broadband plan like Rs.650,Rs.750 etc etc.At least they give me unlimited data for a month with almost 3g speed.But 3g packs will not give me unlimited for Rs.750.Even there have no unlimited 3g plan even for Rs.1000.But if I take Rs.1000 broadband plan,I can enjoy 3g speed with unlimited data.I normally download 40-50 gb/month for Rs.450.Is there any 3g or 4g plan who gave me unlimited data like… Read more »
March 2, 2014 9:21 pm 9:21 PM

Biggest mistake airtel made is by launching 4G in a city where it dont have 3G license i.e Pune…Instead of Pune it would launch 4G in mumbai where it has 3G license by which more would prefer it. ..What is problem of 4G in pune is 4G coverage is not available everywhere and if there is no 4G coverage the user gets over to 2G coverage Its like paying 4G prices for using 2G….

bhavesh kothari
November 9, 2014 10:05 am 10:05 AM
when they launched the service in pune they had spectrum of 2300 mhz for maharashtra but for mumbai they did not have spectrum on 2300 mhz. they have recently made an acquisition from qualacomm for 2300 mhz in mumbai. i do not understand that why in maharashtra they are not launching 4g on mobile. Airtel marketing is worsen they had all advantages of acquiring more 4g customer but they did not expand there network in proper time and now they are going to face a huge and fierce competition from reliance jio 4g. i am egarly waiting for jio to… Read more »
March 3, 2014 1:14 am 1:14 AM

same is it for Kolkata.

March 2, 2014 11:13 pm 11:13 PM

Completely agree
I thought they would take 3G spectrum in maharashtra in the recent auction but they did not take it…Atleast in my area maximum people use bsnl….n also idea 3g quite good over here….Bsnl care has improved a lot I called 1503 from my bsnl landline for customer care of local CSC by mistake the phone.disconnected the next minute I got a call on my cell from them…Superb service