As anticipated last week, Bharti Airtel has launched its 4G service in Kolkata today, becoming the first operator to offer 4G services in the country. The company had previously secured BWA spectrum in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab and Kolkata for a total consideration of Rs. 3314.36 crores during the Broadband Wireless Access spectrum auction and had appointed Nokia Siemens Networks, Huawei, Ericsson and ZTE to build and operate its TD-LTE (time division duplex long term evolution) network in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab and Kolkata respectively.
While Airtel’s 4G microsite was down at the time of writing this article, it accidentally went live for a couple of hours yesterday night, providing a sneak peek into its 4G tariff plans along with devices and services that will be on offer with its 4G service. Airtel’s 4G Microsite is now live and can be accessed at Airtel.in/4G. While the mobile operator hasn’t mentioned Internet speeds one could expect on the service, but theoretically its up to 100 mbps download and 40 mbps upload.
Tariff: As indicated in the screenshot, Airtel 4G will be available in both in prepaid and postpaid. It will be offering three different 4G plans namely breakfree, breakfree max and breakfree ultra. Breakfree will offer 6GB data for a monthly rental of Rs 999, followed by breakfree max which will offer 9GB data for a monthly rental of Rs 1399 and breakfree ultra which will offer 18GB data for a monthly rental of Rs 1999. After the usage of free data, the 4G speeds will throttle down to 128kbps across all plans.
As an introductory offer, Airtel informed that postpaid customers will receive bill discounts. The customers on Rs 999 plans will receive discounts worth one month’s rent spread across the first six bill cycles i.e. they will receive a bill discount of Rs 167 per bill for the first six bills and the customers on the Rs 1399 plan and Rs 1999 plan will receive discounts worth two month’s rent spread across the first six bill cycles which essentially means that customers on Rs 1399 plan will receive a bill discount of Rs.466/ bill for the first six bills and customers on Rs 1999 plan will receive a bill discount of Rs 666 / bill for the first six bills.
Regions: Airtel’s 4G service will be initially available in Kolkata, followed by Bengaluru, although the exact timeline wasn’t disclosed yet.
Services: Along with data, Airtel will also be offering various services like Airtel Movies (powered by BigFlix), Airtel Games (powered by IndiaGames), Airtel live devotion (also known as Airtel iDivine) and Broadband TV. MediaNama Readers might recall that Airtel had previously tied up with Reliance ADA group owned online streaming and DVD/VCD rental service BigFlix to launch Airtel Movies, offering live streaming of 500 movies, 100 TV shows, 100 Trailers and 100 music videos. It had also partnered with Disney’s Indiagames to power its gaming platform on Airtel Digital TV and offer a Games on Demand service on Airtel Broadband. Earlier this month, Airtel had launched a new interactive service called iDivine which offered live and recorded video darshans of temples, Dargahs, Gurudwaras and churches.
Devices: Since 4G-compatible handsets are currently not available in the market yet, Airtel will be offering LTE compatible wireless devices including multi-mode USB dongles (Huawei E392) and a Indoor Wireless gateway (Huawei B593). The USB dongle is priced at Rs 7,999 and will feature a USIM card slot, a Micro SD card slot and a USB 2.0 connector while the Indoor wireless gateway is priced at Rs 7,750 and will convert the LTE connection to Wi-Fi network which can then be shared across multiple devices. It also features multiple user access support, multi screen video chat, a built-in DHCP server and NAT and a web-based management system.