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Airtel 4G Internet Speed Test Review

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There was a time when people used to brag about their touchscreen phones and its specifications, but now you can buy very good Android phones under Rs. 10,000. These affordable Android phones don’t have anything that you can show off to your friends. So, if you seriously want to get your bragging rights back, then you should buy a phone supporting Indian 4G networks running on band 40.

We got our hands on Airtel 4G Dongle and did some thorough speed testing and here are our results.

Test Apparatus: Huawei E3276 Dongle

This Airtel 4G review was conducted on a Huawei E3276 mobile broadband dongle. The dongle is similar in size and dimensions to a normal 3G dongle and also weighs less than 50 grams. It also supports external antenna for letting you latch on to the network even in areas of spotty network coverage.

airtel 4g dongle slots

The E3276 dongle also has a micro SD card slot and is compatible with Windows XP and later versions, Mac OS X 10.5 onwards, and Linux.

Dongle Software

Once you plug-in the dongle, the installation starts automatically. It only took me less than 5 minutes for installing the software and getting connected to Airtel 4G on my Windows based computer.

Getting Connected to the 4G Internet

All you have to do is plugin the dongle, install modem software and drivers from the autorun popup, install TCPOptimizer (bundled with the modem), wait for the modem to detect the device, and click on Connect button. You need to restart your computer in order for the TCPOptimizer settings to take effect, but you can postpone it.

home

That’s it. You will be connected to India’s first 4G network and will have every right to feel proud about it.

The 4G Experience

Now before we get into the core of the review, I’d recommend that you forget about the advertised 4G speeds by Airtel. If you can do it that then you are in for a treat.

I have a fiber connection at my workplace but I didn’t miss it while I was using Airtel 4G. Browsing the web on Airtel 4G is a real pleasure. It would easily replace your current 3G data cards if you travel a lot to cities under Airtel 4G coverage.

Browsing & Download Speed Results

Web pages open up very quickly and sometimes even faster than a normal broadband connection (2Mbps).

I was able to watch full HD (1080p) videos on YouTube and Vimeo without waiting for the buffering.

However the 12Mbps speed provided by Airtel is still not sufficient for seamless 4K playback on YouTube. You have to be a little bit patient if you want to stream the Ultra HD videos from YouTube.

Speedtest.net results showed my average latency to be around 30ms for Pune based test locations. The packet loss is also very low and is even better than many Wi-Max connections. We carried out tests multiple times and here are results.

Speed Test

Is it really worth it?

Yes.

It is the best portable mobile broadband that you can have currently. It’s a lot better than the 3G networks due to its low latency and minimal packet loss.

Tariff Plans: Airtel 4G Vs. Others 3G

The below listed Airtel 4G plans are only applicable to postpaid subscribers and are billed monthly. Postpaid 3G plans of other leading telecom operators are taken for reference.

Data Airtel 4G Airtel 3G Idea Vodafone
2 GB Rs. 455 2.5 GB @ Rs. 449, 30 days Rs. 449, 28 days 2GB+ 512 MB @ Rs. 449, 28 days
3 GB Rs. 655 NA Rs. 598, 28 days Rs. 650, 28 days, UL
5 GB Rs. 955 4 GB @ Rs. 749, 30 days Rs. 952, 90 days Rs. 850, 28 days, UL
10 GB Rs. 1505 Rs. 1,499, 30 days Rs. 1,499, 28 days NA

[October Update: Airtel 4G rates updated as of October 2015]

For Vodafone 3G unlimited plans of 3 GB and 5 GB plans, the speed will be downgraded to 64 Kbps after the user consumes all of the high-speed data.

Airtel 4G Rates [Sept 2015]

Here are updated Airtel 4G rates.

Airtel 4G Rates Home
Airtel 4G Rates Home

Here are Postpaid Airtel 4G rates for Mobile phones

postpaid Mobile 4G rates
postpaid Mobile 4G rates

 

Final Verdict

Despite being a mobile broadband technology, Airtel 4G is offering its data plans at rates similar to its 3G rivals. The 4G dongle costs only Rs. 1,500 and also come with free with 4 and 5 monthly subscription packs.

4G is largely touted as a mobile broadband technology optimized for data usage. Many were expecting it to be much cheaper than 3G data plans and were even comparing it to the high-speed broadband plans, but its not that cheap. You’ll still have to shell out as much money as you’d pay for 3G data plan but you’d get a much better experience. 4G technology will get more affordable and will see much higher penetration when more players like Reliance Jio and Tikona join the high-speed mobile broadband crusade in near future.
Does this sound convincing enough for you to scrap your old 3G data card for this Airtel 4G dongle?
  1. Sivasankar says

    When it’s in 3g that this was good. But when it’s become 4g from that time it’s not good. So many problems in tower it self.

  2. Chandigarh broadband says

    No doubt airtel 4g LTE is fastest wireless internet service. but at chandigh i;m using CONNECT broadband FTTH Connection. it;s amazing fast. you can see the tariffs at http://www.ConnectCare.in and see the difference of speed and data between FTTH and 4G internet services

  3. ramesh says

    very bad service in pune hadapsar area

    airtel 4g is not working in this area, called customer case lots of time but still its not working. connection is dropping in between use. speed is very slow as comare to other 3G network also. could not search LTE network in Hadapsar area, always shows no internet access.

    very bad service and speed.

  4. Gaurav Sawant says

    I am using Airtel 4G in Pune for the past 1 year. I have the so called unlimited package. 10 GB or 15GB something. Speed is fantastic but but but data package gets consumed within no time. Think I am using too much and cribbing about it? Well here’s an example . I have Vodafone 3G on my cellphone and Airtel 4G as home wifi. I opened YouTube and saw 6 videos wifi hotspot for connection on desktop. I checked data consumption. It was 500 MB. I repeat the same with Airtel 4G. Same set of videos for the same time. Data consumed is 1.5 GB. Don’t believe me; try it for yourself. I was wondering how am I consuming 15 GB within 10 days. I call their customer care and the standard response is that we do not have access to itemised data consumption. Please drop an email and we will revert; which they do but it is hardly itemised. My data cycle restarted today at 6 pm. My data balance was 15GB. Not a single device connected. After half an hour I check data consumed and it was 1.3 GB. With not even a single device connected. I call the customer care and yell and they revert that we will make a note here and during billing this data correction shall be done. What if I had never called and yelled ? What if this is not a mistake and an deliberate attempt by Airtel ? i had to ask them to terminate my connection immediately to which they say it takes 7 days. So much so for the Airtel speed. This is the third time I am exiting Airtel and for the same reason. Once when they launched 3G dongle and then once they launched a 3G wifi broadband. Same issues all over again. Airtel sucks big big time.

    1. cooldude says

      Hey you all people who complain about Airtel. Regardless of their product, their customer service will remain the WORST, including apellate authority, nodal office. so stay away from it. If you’re having an issue with airtel, contact their customer service first, then apeallate authority and if you’re still not satisfied:
      Contact Bharti Airtel CEO directly and somebody will get back to you within a few weeks. It will be just another employee but better than apeallate. Here is his email address:
      Gopal.Vittal@in.airtel.com

    2. Surbhi says

      Same happened with me. My 2gb got deducted when my phone is not in use in the night time as I was sleeping. And even they do not have any direct customer care number so that we can talk with them directly. We need to drop a email to get a call from customer care. And they said that they do not have access to data usage items list as it is confidential and even they do not have any technical knowledge. This is totally disgusting. I am trying to upgrade my sim to 4g but struggling since 24 hours to old sim network get stop and then I can switch with new sim. Their service promises is crap.

  5. Deepak says

    I’m using airtel 4g for the last three months. I have never experienced the true 4g yet, whereas earlier i was getting better 3g speed in vodafone rather. Felt cheated by airtel.

  6. jasssssi says

    U gotta need reliance jio for a day ? #forget any other connection till used.
    I’m RF engineer at Jio and using 4G from January 2015 . Among the first thousand users of India to feel that extremely high speed. U will say that too ??

  7. Mohan says

    Airtel implementation of 4G is less than average. The speeds are not constant and packets. The packets are dropped every few minutes dropping the signal to below average speed. The customer service is substandard and when you raise a technical issue they drop your line and frustrate you. The most garbage service provider for that matter all service providers in India are horrible. It is so difficult to get a good internet service.

  8. Rsk says

    I experience 25mbps,8mbps (avg.)speeds with under 20 ping on speedtest here in ludhiana,though rates are high but are worth good service being wireless and consistant.

  9. Sara Jhon says

    What a speed by AirTel 4G. But rates are title bit higher…
    world global speed test
    speedtest kz
    mobile speed checker

  10. Ram jee says

    Airtel 4G has a great speed. Thanks AirTel for providing us this speed…
    speedtest.net by ookla
    test déb
    hizinitest

  11. s.ilangovan says

    i am having airtel 3G dongle . can i upgrade the same to 4G dongle

  12. Ajit says

    Airtel 3g network is very poor nd speed is not so good,

  13. Akshat says

    Airtel 4G rates are very high. Nothing can replace BSNL Broadband as of now.

  14. rama says

    Please don’t use .it is taking lot of time to load

  15. Barun Roy says

    It is a little better than 2g. Nothing more.

  16. Ashwani says

    Its really disappointing that they are making us fool in the name of 4G when u go for buying only sales people come to sell then if u have problem technical people come to inform you that the signal in ur area is weak and the device sold cannot be taken back so feel cheated by them. This has happened to me so I will advice rest to u to be careful while deciding to switch over to 4G from 3G

  17. prasaed says

    Guys 4G From Airtel is totally “FARJI”… They R misleading us in terms of data usage…my 5GB data got over in a day though I have hardly used around 500 MB and in bill its showing that I have used 2GB of data in 1minute… Pathetic product…

    1. praveen poojari says

      Non sense product 4G Airtel. I ve the 4G dongle, from last 4 months I’m facing problem. Speed is not even coming as 1 mbps and with in 7 days entire 2 GB getting finished even though i use for 500 mb or less data…..they are foolling us nonsense product… I want to complain what is email id or how to challenge them?

      1. gurpreet singh says

        Give a complaint to consumer court

  18. K Ahmed says

    I have bought a 4G hotspot today, thinking I will get some high speed better than 3g. But at my home near Swagath Garuda Mall, Jayanagar, the connection is pathetic. the speed test show as below:
    Ping takes 300-400 ms, Download / Upload speed is hanging around 0.4 Mbps.

    AirTel is a liar do not go for this.

    Will keep you guys informed about its performance, in a few days when I am in Pune.

    4G in Bangalore Sucks near my area.

  19. sadique says

    AIRTEL is the Worst service provider among all ISPs. Never ever go for airtel. It sucks. More than 1 week and my dongle has still not been activated. And nobody will help you , neither the vendor nor their awful customer support. PATHETIC !!

  20. Rahul says

    Airtel Challenge: If you get worst customer service than this any where in the world, i will pay your 5 months bill.
    This is my first month with the Airtel 4G for home and they told me 10 GB is over in one week. Ok, i did not check and just went ahead and did a top up of 3GB, received the confirmation on my mobile and today its 7 days since and its still not activated. First of all it took me 2 days to figure out how to do the top up. I was able to raise a complain after talking to 10 people and my call being transferred multiple times and had to repeat my story 10 times. Now its been 6 days nothing has been done about it and i am still on 2G. I called at least 6-7 in last 3 days times each time my call was transferred 4-5 times, repeated my story more that 25 times and still no one could help me. And yes i called Airtel 4G customer care and trust me they have no clue about this service.
    After being on the phone for hours my problem still exists and worst thing they dont even understand 4G services and packs and just blindly transfer you to next guy who can be from any division … once i was even transferred to 3g and once to billing and once to technical support for some other stuff.
    And let me tell you the best joke and this happened 4 times, they told me i need to call 4 G customer care number and they gave me the number i had called on. WOW! thats all i can say.
    Welcome to 4G hell
    My complain reference number: 63787693
    My 4G Number: 7387029013

  21. parv smaty says

    heyy! leave this all 4g of airtel and 3g of idea; Vodafone etc try Bsnl 3g it is very best than all i am getting full network and speed is 1 to 2 mbps

  22. ram says

    I have used Airtel 4G LET (Router wifi) service for last 6 months. Now I have changed to Idea Broadband and it is working as per my expectations in terms of capacity and charges . As per my experience charges are too high for Airtel 4G wifi and it consumes plan 10 times faster than any broadband plan. So my personal suggestions please don’t go for it. If you have any good broadband services in your area go for it. May be BSNL / Reliance broadband / tikona / idea broadband.

  23. umashankar says

    it is horrible experience using AIRTEL 4G inspite of spending 1 hour with the call centre those people does not have any technical knowledge and transfering the calls from one desk to other desk which is irrelevant. I thought of changing the ASP from airtel to some other. not at all satisfied and 18001030405 is getting not a valid no.

  24. Kunal singh says

    Hi,

    I am a fully satisfied customer of Airtel 4g connection. Although it has’nt been a fully smooth ride, initially I had faced connection problems but it was resolved within 2 weeks from the date of purchase and since then there has been no looking back. There is no problem with connection, no matter what. The speed varies between 8 to 21 mbps at any given time of the day. In the end, I would like to recommend Airtel 4g dongle to all my friends, relatives and family members. :)

    1. ujjwal says

      Hahaha

      Mr Kunal Singh, nobody wants to hear your marketing rant.
      Everybody knows the truth by now. Airtel marketing gimick “4G” has failed miserably.
      Gone were the times when you could easily fool village people by smart advertising.

      People who are smartest and digitally ahead would go for 4G connections. And guess what they can’t be fooled. Thanks to airtel promoters, but no thanks.
      We are better without your “$$$4G”.

  25. S Ray says

    I am desperately looking for a stable 3G or 4G (only Airtel as of now) in Bangalore. I dont need ultra high speeds, but a good stable connection that holds up well all across the city. I was using Airtel 3G till June 2015, but it was really slow at certain areas near my office in bellandur. I am trying out Vodafone 3G, which is even worse as they switch to Airtel towers for many areas within Bangalore. I was planning to try Airtel 4G now but does anyone in Bangalore have any real feedback? Also, has anyone given Tata Docomo a try in Bangalore?

  26. gopalakrishnann says

    Airtel 4G is one kind of white cheating.they promised lot. but poor net work.everywhere in mumbai. never go for airtel 4G.

  27. Samuel says

    Airtel is fooling around with its 4G service. The technical and global standard for 4G is 200 Mbps for high speed cars and metro rail and 1 Gbps for stationery access. What they are offering now is in reality a 3G speed. Its not even 10% of peak 4G speed.

    1. Aditya says

      Where did you get this information? Even at Cat6 – which very few networks are on only 300 Mbps is supported. Even then it is a test. Despite roaming across the world i have not seen a single network delivery over 100 Mbps
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_LTE_networks

  28. arup ganguly says

    The have assured me this is the best.I spend 1100+ with tax per month but speed is very low.I have lodged complaint but to no effect.What to do?They have cheated me and not stopping the connection I want to get rid of them.They are shameless people.

  29. Ajay Jogey says

    Not good no proper network coverage and take time to connect. Go with TATA

  30. gurudatt p says

    Here is what happens after you buy Airtel 4G connection…Needless to say, mine is a sad story of worst experience i have faced with AIRTEL 4G. Mine is Airtel number- 7387419728. Airtel 4G services was not available for me after 1 month of connection, and i raised may complaints and Service Requests: I have registered service requests- 61592903, 354699972, 61719382, 61728774, 61826858 and many more. But AIRTEL did not resolve my issue, and did not provide me with Service. Frustrated, i disconnected AIRTEL 4G and restored old service provider. But now AIRTEL is Harrassing me with monthly bills even after their confirmed AIRTEL service disconnection. They are calling and pestering me to pay monthly charges for the months when service was not provided – my SRs and complaints are proof of it. I am at a loss to understand how to I get help. Also I paid 2500Rs initially for AIRTEL connection which I want refund as it is not my fault that AIRTEL did not provide service. Please help if you have any AIRTEL EMAIL id for complaint (i already sent mails to good-for-nothing airtel appellate email id but they keep giving replies that i have to pay for services not used as it is Airtel policy !).
    Thanks for reading my woes…
    Gurudatt Puranik- 9545553781 email:guru2511@yahoo.com
    Airtel 4G number- 7387419728

  31. KUMAR says

    I got this device which is white colour on 20/06/2015 and got activated on Monday 22/06/2015 first day i used for 15 to 30 mins it worked and all of sudden it stopped working. The person who setup the device stopped responding then to my luck i realized that they haven’t produced the cheque of Rs 5352 which i issued them immediately i called citibank and told them to stop the payment. On 25th again that person contacted me and replaced the device which is zte and worked when he delivered it, but to my surprise it is not working when i connected from home and it is showing a speed of 80 to 100 kbps and it is still not working and i lost my Rs. 5352 which i paid through cash this time.

    I raised a request to airtel lets see….

  32. ujjwal says

    Airtel is at it again. I have been fooled by them again. I thought they would provide some value for more money. But their 4g dongle is just waste of money. I have been using internet dongles for many years now. Have used almost all brands.
    What airtel is good at is providing better coverage than anybody else. But when you talk about speed it is the most coslty service. Even the overall exp of using their dongle is no good. I have mts dongle also. It connects like zoom when you plug in the device. But their coverage is no good in this area.
    Thats why I bought airtel 4g. It took 5 days to get it activated and then when I plug in the device, it does its usual drama from “not-registerd” to “ready” to “connect failed” to “ready” to “connecting” to “connect failed” “to ready”. Then you click on connect button and it connects.
    And forget about the min 5mb speed as promised by vendor, I am not touching 2 mb speed.
    And to add to the irony there is an Airtel tower on the top of the building I am staying in.
    Just waste of another 1800/- for me. I am gonna continue with my broadband wired connection.

  33. DK verma says

    I don’t think Airtel has the ability to provide 4g connection. They are just fooling the customers. I can say coz, i have experienced that. After a month , the airtel 4g dongle wasn’t getting connected. I tried to reach customer care but they couldn’t help me. Neither they were equiped to solve any problem at all. Do not take Airtel 4g connection, its terrible. its waste of money and energy.

  34. Keshav says

    Nice Article. Would be interesting to know how well it would perform on a 4G enabled phone.

  35. chandigarh says

    Hello! It’s inder from Punjab. I examined the tariffs of all private Internet service provider companies on http://www.internetbroadband.in and compared these internet plans with BSNL. But all of BSNL plans are not cheaper than these private brands. So why to select this slow action type organization, if there are more faster private internet broadband suppliers like CONNECT-Videocon, Airtel, Tata etc. They deliver the superior internet connectivity & technical support to their subscribers in lower rental prices. I’ll suggest you to go for a genuine private broadband service provider than of BSNL.

  36. bit.ly/dnawarp says

    its postpaid only service.

  37. S. Roy says

    What is the function of Micro SD card slot? Is it just to allow the 4G dongle to act as a flash drive as well or is it that it has some other specific purpose?

  38. atanu barik says

    wish to follow this site

  39. manan says

    First of all it will take loads of time for more network coverage…even in 4g launched circles network is a problem…go for cdma tech evdo rev b based dongles mifi from either mts or reliance or tata…min speed is generally 1.7 mbps and goes upto 8 mbps ..most importantly you get a much wider coverage and browsing is seamless

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