How 4G/LTE only offerings from operators are impacting end Consumer Experience

Follow Us

Be it due to fierce competition or to give an extra experience of 4G/LTE to consumers, operators are providing 4G/LTE benefits in every possible way they can. We have also seen operators like Airtel , Idea Cellular and Vodafone providing double data benefits with 4G packs.


Good that operators are following a 3 concept centric approach.

  1. Marketing : To market higher speeds and smooth internet experience which helps operators to shift consumers to the next generation technologies
  2. Consumer Experience : An extra chance to consumers for experiencing the new technology for longer time and get used to it.(I don't want to use the word addiction here)
  3. Network utilization : Being a new technology, as only few users latch on to the network, providing these kind of benefits will shift the load from 3G to 4G networks. There by contributing to some percentage of distributed network utilization.

While I appreciate every effort taken care by our operators to provide the same to consumers, I would also like to point out few real life challenges end-consumers are facing.

To begin with I would like to highlight few points as below:

  1. Not every customer is well aware of 2G/3G/4G terms technically. (I assume if you are reading this then you must be aware of)
  2. Not every smart phone in the market provide an option for consumer to select LTE/4G only mode in the Network settings.

In fact many Android devices don't have LTE/4G only option including Apple devices.

For example:

If we consider an Apple device : Consumer will have an option directly for LTE/4G. (I wish I had a chance to request Tim Cook of Apple to provide a software patch to enable [Technology]G-Only option in the Voice & Data section exclusively for Indian customers/operators)

Apple Settings IOS

If we consider major portion of Android devices : (LTE/4G)/3G/2G Mode or 4G/3G Mode will only be available

So, I have few questions to operators providing these benefits :

1.Where is an option for an end consumer to consume or restrict data usage only to 4G/LTE network to consume the free data gift provided by you?

2.Even if there is an option to enable Only LTE/4G mode users can't make or receive voice calls as the network is not VoLTE enabled at-least for now.

3.Is your 4G network so robust such that the device will always be locked on to your 4G/LTE Network even on 4G/3G/2G Mode? If you are confident on your 4G network coverage then enable relaxation and deduct 4G only data account balance if available. No consumer in senses will actually use this 4G only data purposefully on 3G/2G network unless or until unavoidable or in network unavailability cases.

airtel4gonly data

In contrast to the above suggestion from the image, I enabled 4G mode on my iPhone, now can airtel guarantee me that my device will always be latched on to 4G and data will be deducted from dedicated 4G only balance? What if I'm not active on any other data pack on my number or 3G/4G data is finished in course of time? A consumer should face core balance deduction still having 4G data balance right?

idea cellular 4G Only

Like wise Idea Cellular, I don't understand why they promote these extra benefits on their website. Neither the customer care executives are aware of this offering nor one actually gets the benefit on postpaid.

So, how are you expecting users to selectively consume this 4G/LTE only data?

A Consumer Experience :

  1. User is already active on a 1GB 3G/4G pack of airtel and the data balance remaining is approx 300MB.
  2. User came across 1GB 4G data offering notification while accessing the my Airtel app and claimed the offer.
  3. Benefit got activated and everything went fine till the old 3G/4G data benefit was completely exhausted.
  4. Now after the 3G/4G pack benefit got exhausted, in an impression that there is still 4G data balance remaining user continued to use data without switching off the data connection.
  5. End result : Being in 4G/3G dual mode, during course of usage the network switched to 3G (We all know network switches to 3G/2G on 4G unavailability) and 150 rupees got deducted over night.
  6. Upon calling CC, the consumer ended up listening the dumb explanation to enable 4G/LTE mode in network settings to use the 4G data.

So, an operator is expecting end consumer to be aware of all this chaos and use 4G data benefit wisely?

One consumer who is not aware of all these glitches questioned me this way :

  1. Being with Operator X, the consumer asks "This operator says you can use 3G data on 4G then why not 4G data (4G only data) on 3G?" We all know the answer, including the operator, but the poor end consumer is not aware of.
  2. I called customer care and the executive suggested me to enable LTE/4G only mode. I wanted to ask this operator X to show me those options on my phone.
  3. This is called cheating, I lost all my money and trust on this operator. I will PORT OUT is what the consumer concluded.

Now who needs to be blamed for - the consumer or the operator? Everyone is right in their perspective, its just a matter of Simplifying Consumer Experience.

Dear readers have you landed into this kind of situation? If so please share us your experiences via comments or tweet me @Srikapardhi

Reported By

Telecom Analyst

Passionately following the Indian #Telecom Industry for over a decade from Business, Consumer and a Technical perspective. My primary focus area is Consumer & Digital Experience.

Aviation and Fintech News

Recent Comments

Notify of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments