Airtel Slashes 4G Rates. Gets Cheaper than 3G!
The leading Indian telecom service provider Bharti Airtel has slashed its 4G LTE tariffs sharply, and will now be offering them to high consumption users for a price even lower than 3G services by other operators and Airtel’s own 3G network as well.
The obvious reason behind this 31% cut down is to thwart off any possible challenge from Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm which will be launching its 4G LTE starting next year.
“We have decided to offer 4G tariffs below the 3G rates for high consumption users,” said Srini Gopalan, Director for Airtel’s consumer business. Also, the company will shift 3G customers to 4G at the same rates (provided they have a 4G compatible phone). Availability of cost effective 4G compatible smartphones in India, however, is being seen as a major handicap.
Airtel will now offer 10GB of 4G data for only Rs 999 which is much lesser than the Rs. 1,499 required for the same amount of data usage on a 3G network.
5GB data plan will cost Rs. 850 across both 3G and 4G networks. Rates for 4GB data plan for 3G and 4G users are almost the same too (Rs 749 and Rs 750 respectively), while a 3GB plan costs Rs 249 for 3G users and Rs 250 for 4G users.
Airtel 4G services were launched in the country in April 2012, with Kolkata being the first city to get such high speed data. 14 cities besides Kolkata have Airtel 4G network at present- Bengaluru, Pune, Nagpur, Nasik, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, Phagwara, Patiala, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali.
The 4G service is expected to be launched in the national capital Delhi next week, in collaboration with Chinese gear maker Huawei who will create and operate the 4G LTE network in the region
Airtel gives its users the option to choose from two types of 4G devices:
- By buying a 4G dongle for Rs 1500, they can access internet at extremely high speed over their laptop devices
- Or, by using the Airtel 4G CPE Router as a complete home Wi-fi solution and connecting multiple devices (like smartphones, laptops and tablets) to it.
Reliance Jio Infocomm which got the Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum license for launching mobile broadband services in the country say they have joined hands with leading vendors (including the Korean giant Samsung) is yet to announce the date for launching their 4G services. Once they do so, they will become the ONLY pan-India 4G operators in the country.
Airtel has the BWA license for Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Kerala circles only.
As smartphone penetration in India is on the rise, more and more people are showing keenness to connect with the rest of the world via the internet. Which is why leading service providers keep on coming up with lucrative plans for wooing over more users to their network from time to time.
After a heated battle between telcos on call rates and later 2G internet connectivity rates, it is time to move on to a newer battlefield now- the 3G and the 4G sector.
Though the market for high speed internet is limited at the moment, it is obvious that the first ones to arrive will have an edge over the latecomers.
Delay on the part of Reliance Jio could well work out to Airtel’s advantage– and they are not leaving any stone unturned to ensure they capture the juiciest part of the market before the former arrives.