It’s been over a year since 3G services became available in India and yet, many people still rely on the 2G network for their mobile data usage. Regardless of that, look what we have here; a 4G service; from Airtel. Starting from today, airtel will begin offering its 4G (based on LTE technology) service in the city of Kolkata.
3G networks can deliver speeds of up to 21 Mbps (or upto 28Mbps with some variant technologies) and now if the claims of speed are anything to go by, this 4G service will deliver 100Mbps and 40Mbps download and upload speeds respectively. Think that’s cool? Here’s more; these are the speeds you get when you are on the go. If you are stationary at one place, you can get download speeds of up to 1Gbps, they say (though this speed of 1Gbps is currently not possible with airtel, but it certainly is a possibility on 4G network).
At present, you can get airtel’s 4G service through either a USB Modem (requires a USIM; your regular 2G Sim cards won’t work if you want LTE access) for use on a single PC/laptop or a Indoor Wireless Gateway (similar to a modem router) for access to multiple PC’s/laptops. Either of these instruments will cost you about Rs.8000. One’s mobile phones featuring 4G network arrives, you can use them too.
Three plans exist at present:
Breakfree: Rs.999 for 6GB data
Breakfree max: Rs.1399 for 9GB data
Breakfree ultra: Rs.1999 for 18 GB data
For all the 3 plans, post free data usage, the speed will be reduced to 128Kbps.
One of the main reasons why 3G service didn’t take off is due to the lack of aggressive pricing from the operators. The current tariffs are too pricey for most people to afford. Now, looking at the 4G tariff plans, one can observe that there is not much difference from 3G tariff plans.
For example, a 10GB 3G data plan will cost Rs.1250 per month compared to Rs.1399 for 9GB when it comes to 4GB. And adding the dongle/gateway cost to it, 4G is certainly not a cheap affair.
Airtel has BWA (4G) licenses for 4 circles, Kolkata, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Punjab.
RIL, which has licenses in all 22 circles was to launch its 4G service in December 2011 itself, for some reason, it didn’t happen. Monsoon is still few months away and here’s hoping that RIL will bring, again, some Monsoon Hungama, in 4G style this time.