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Why Has Airtel Capped Its 4G Speeds To 10Mbps?

AirtelBharti Airtel seems to be limiting its 4G speeds to 10 Mbps following the reduction in 4G tariff, according to a thread on India Broadband Forum.  It’s not clear in which circles Airtel has throttled the 4G data plan speeds.

While Airtel PR has not replied to us, when we contacted Airtel helpline in Bangalore, they informed us that Airtel’s 4G plans come with 10Mbps downlink and 5Mbps uplink, confirming the reduction in Internet speeds.

In June 2013, Airtel has reduced its 4G tariff for prepay and postpay customers in  Bangalore, Kolkata, Pune and Chandigarh. Airtel’s new 4G data plans are available at a starting price of Rs 450 per month for 2GB of 4G data. Other monthly 4G plans include 3GB for Rs 650, 4GB for Rs 750, 10GB for Rs 999, 12GB for Rs 1299, 15GB for Rs 1449, 25GB for Rs 2049, 45GB for Rs 2999, and 80GB for Rs 4799.

Interestingly, the revised plans made Airtel’s 4G plans cheaper than Airtel’s 3G data plans. For example, a 2GB monthly data pack that costs Rs 450 per month on 4G, is priced higher at Rs 455 on 3G. It appears that Airtel wants to aggressively promote its 4G service.

However, considering the recent speed reduction, we wonder what’s the point of calling it 4G LTE connection when Airtel is offering speed lower than that offered by an HSPA+ connection?

Why would anyone shift to 4G if the speeds are going to be limited to 10MBPS? Also note that there currently aren’t any devices available in the country that offer inbuilt 4G support. There’s really no incentive for customers to shift to Airtel’s 4G data plans.

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That said, Airtel already has low number of 4G service users. In September 2012 we had reported that  Airtel has been able to sign-up 3,180 subscribers. The data was provided by the Minister of State for Communications & Information Technology, Milind Deora in the Lok Sabha. However, Airtel has not disclosed any 4G subscriber information ever since. Airtel’s already low number of 4G service customers coupled with reduced 4G data speed, it seems to be hitting itself with hammer.

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