Bharti Airtel Shuts Down 3G Network in Kerala to Refarm Spectrum for 4G

Bharti Airtel has completed refarming of 3G spectrum in Kerala thereby extending 4G services to the customers

  • Bharti Airtel has refarmed spectrum in 10 more circles
  • The telco has refarmed the 2100 MHz spectrum in the region
  • It is also deploying LTE 900 technology in other states

There has been a heated discussion ongoing in the industry about the 4G and 5G spectrum pricing and how it is too expensive for the telecom operator to afford in the upcoming 4G and 5G spectrum auction. However, until then, to relay 4G services to their customers, the telecom operators are refarming their spectrum. If you do not know, then refarming is a process by which the telecom operators use the airwaves being used for the 3G network to relay 4G network services. However, there is a catch with this refarming practise and that is there no point between, where the subscribers can enjoy both 3G and 4G services, hence it is important that the subscribers should all have 4G SIM. With this being said, Bharti Airtel is one service provider which is bullish on the idea of expanding its 4G coverage across India rapidly. We have already seen the telecom operator deploy LTE 900 technology which is based on the 900 MHz band in various states. This time around, Bharti Airtel has refarmed the spectrum in Kerala and has started relaying 4G services in the state.


Bharti Airtel Kerala Customers Now Getting 4G Services

With this new refarming of the Bharti Airtel 3G spectrum, the customers of Airtel in Kerala will be able to enjoy 4G network and higher speeds. However, along with the 4G services in the state, the subscribers of Airtel will still be able to use the 2G network. Bharti Airtel also noted that before the migration to the 4G network, all the customers in the state were notified that the shift will be done to 4G network and were urged to upgrade to 4G handsets and SIM. This refarming of spectrum has helped Airtel in boosting capacity and coverage in the state and even inside the buildings like malls, hospitals, offices and more. As for the spectrum which has been refarmed, Bharti Airtel has chosen the 2100 MHz spectrum which it was previously using for 3G services. It is worth noting that in Kerala, Airtel uses a solid spectrum bank across 2300 Mhz (TD LTE), 2100 Mhz (LTE 2100), and 1800 Mhz (FD LTE) to offer world-class 4G services to customers.

Subscribers Will Now Experience 4G Speeds

Nagananda. U, COO- Kerala, Bharti Airtel remarked about this new move, “The deployment of 4G and refarming of 3G spectrum is in line with our national strategy of providing seamless connectivity and superior data experience to our customers. 4G LTE service provides high-speed internet access that fits the needs and provides fast Internet speeds for consumers living in suburban and urban areas with more high-speed broadband service options, and Airtel 4G LTE affords new competitive high-speed broadband choices.”

Vodafone Idea Also Refarming Spectrum

To recall, last time Bharti Airtel had reported on refarming of its spectrum it has highlighted the completion of refarming across India in 10 states. In all of these states, Bharti Airtel has refarmed either the 900 MHz or the 2100 MHz spectrum to relay 4G services. Not only this, but Bharti Airtel has also shared its plans of shutting down 3G services by the end of this year. On the other hand, competing telecom operator, Vodafone Idea has also embarked on a similar drive wherein, the telecom operator has finished refarming spectrum in seven circles and has used the same 2100 MHz and 900 MHz spectrum. It is worth noting that after Bharti Airtel finishes refarming all of its spectrum it will have more than 28% of 4G carriers as compared to Reliance Jio.

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Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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NikhilVishal | ChennaiOnly QstnsManish saharantri_vis Recent comment authors
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Vishal | Chennai
Vishal | Chennai

So totally in how many circles Airtel 3G is shutdown ?


10-11 after Kerala shut down.


Airtel also shutting down 3G in Gujarat. I have seen this in many areas of Ahmedabad. But I guess Airtel does not have 900mhz frequency in Gujarat then how will they improve indoor coverage? Tri_Vis or Nikhil if you can explain something on this then pls. Thanks in advance.


Airtel might purchase band 8/5/28 spectrum in upcoming auctions. Band 28 only if spectrum price is lowered and tariffs is increased. But before the auction, Rcom issue must be solved. As there is rule of sub-Ghz band, Jio cannot have everything in band 5/28. AIRTEL can buy 5Mhz in band 5 and band 28 each temporarily in upcoming to solve that issue. But will take more than year to get spectrum and deploy it. Airtel/Jio are exhausted with expansion. Only in 2021, you can expect 900Mhz/850Mhz/700Mhz will be deployed.


For that R-COM problem should be solved immediately. Otherwise it’s unfortunate to stay under low coverage in 2020 itself unless Airtel expansion takes place at rapid place beyond city limits. Everything depends on Midi government. He needs to be proactive. Otherwise BSNL will take up all subscribers in upcoming months.


I think indoor coverage will not solved before 2021 by Airtel. As no 850/900 Mhz frequency.
So unless Airtel get some in next auction, it will remain weak indoor coverage.

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