Bharti Airtel has deployed LTE on 900 MHz band, which has the ability to pass through walls and other obstacles much better than other 4G bands.
With this, customers with handsets that support this frequency will see an improvement in 4G signal levels. This is expected to be very beneficial for voice usage.
It should, however, be kept in mind that less than 3-4% of the 4G handsets in use in India are estimated to support this band.
Moreover, it is not clear which sub-band within the 900 MHz band is being used by Airtel.
For example, band 5, band 8 and band 26 fall in or around this frequency. However, given the telco’s spectrum holding, it is most likely that it is using band 8.
Among the handsets that are likely to support these bands are iPhones, which typically come with support for nearly all the bands in use.
Most of the popular and mass-segment phones, however, come with support for only bands 1, 3, 40 and 41, which are the other, more widely used frequencies for deploying LTE in India.
“Airtel smartphone customers will enjoy improved 4G availability inside buildings – homes, offices and malls. It will also result in wider availability of Airtel 4G across Mumbai,” the company said.
Before this deployment, Airtel was using band 3 and band 40 in Mumbai. Jio uses band 3, band 40 and band 5.
Airtel recently announced that it will roll out 7000 new mobile broadband sites and 400 Kms of fresh optic fiber during FY 19.
Vodafone Idea is also expected to introduce LTE services in the 900 MHz band later this year. Unlike Airtel, Vodafone Idea is expected to go for 900 MHz LTE in a majority of its circles, as it has copious amounts of spectrum in this band due to the merger of the two companies.