India’s top telecom service provider Bharti Airtel on Thursday commercially launched its fourth generation (4G) communication services, which are expected to make surfing the web on mobile phones much faster than 3G, in almost 300 towns across the country. Airtel became the first telecom company to roll out its 4G services in India.
With an aim to migrate more and more of its Internet subscribers to 4G, Airtel said users upgrading to 4G services can do so while continuing to pay as per their existing 3G data plans.
“With the help of the feedback received from the beta launches, we have now built India’s first commercial 4G network that will make high speed mobile broadband a reality.
“The national roll-out today is another small step in our journey,” Bharti Airtel (India & South Asia) MD & CEO Gopal Vittal told reporters here.
Airtel’s move comes ahead of launch of 4G services by Reliance Jio – the telecom arm of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries, towards the end of the year.
Various firm, including Airtel and Reliance Jio, had won spectrum needed to run 4G services in 2010, however, roll out of services has been slow due to technology problems and lack of devices.
While Airtel has 4G spectrum in 14 circles, Reliance Jio is the only player to have these airwaves in all the 22 circles.
Around three weeks ago, Mr. Vittal had also written to Airtel customers across the country to provide suggestions regarding tower sites, to which Mr. Vittal said the company received 20,000 responses, out of which 500 provided leads on potential sites.
Mr. Vittal said the company has increased the number of 4G mobile sites three times in the last 60 days to provide better services to customers
Mr. Vittal said Airtel is talking to various handset makers for the past one year on shaping the device ecosystem for 4G. He, however, refused to comment if the company will come with Airtel branded handsets.