Airtel 4G Internet Speed Test Review
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.
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.
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.
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.
Is it really worth it?
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.
Here are Postpaid Airtel 4G rates for Mobile phones
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.