Four months before big competitor Reliance Jio is ready, Bharti Airtel, India’s biggest telco, announced the commercial launch of its high speed 4G LTE services in 296 towns across India. This follows the successful trial of services in select cities and the feedback received from customers.
The event marks the biggest ever 4G roll out in India and is a crucial step towards expanding the reach of high-speed internet services in the country.
Because of poor land-line penetration, 4G services are seen as the backbone of India’s digital growth in coming years.
Airtel has been the pioneer in 4G in India, having launched India’s first 4G network in Kolkata in April 2012.
“Now, customers across the country will be able to experience high speed wireless broadband on Airtel 4G and get on to the digital superhighway to enjoy uninterrupted HD video streaming, superfast uploading and downloading of movies, music and images. Airtel 4G is available to customers across a range of smart devices including mobile phones, dongles, 4G hotspots and Wi-Fi dongles,” it said.
The following are the features of Airtel’s 4G service.
4G at 3G prices: Airtel customers can enjoy 4G at 3G data prices with packs starting at INR 25. In addition, with every 4G SIM swap, Airtel is offering six months of unlimited music streaming and downloads on ‘Wynk Music’ and five free movies per month for six months on the Eros Now channel of ‘Wynk Movies’.
Airtel also introduced a new range of ‘Infinity Plans’ starting Rs.999. These high-end plans offer unlimited voice calls on mobile (first time in India) along with data benefits and access to ‘Wynk Movies’ and ‘Wynk Music’, the company said.
It also promises instant SIM swap in minutes and home delivery of SIMs and postpaid connections in four hours.
Airtel introduced a new technology called Flexpage.
“This breakthrough technology is an automated platform that allows customers to track their data usage and get real time usage alerts. With Flexpage, customers can also upgrade their mobile plan on the go, as and when they exhaust their monthly data quota. Customers can also opt from amongst a host of affordable 4G smart bytes starting at prices as low as Rs.100,” it said.
It also struck an alliance with Flipkart and Samsung. Numerous 4G devices on Flipkart are now bundled and delivered with Airtel 4G SIMs. Customers can choose from a range of 4G devices (from brands like Samsung, Xiaomi, Motorola, Lenovo, Asus and Huawei) and enjoy a host of attractive Airtel 4G data benefits.
Samsung stores will educate customers on Airtel 4G: Samsung retail stores now facilitate seamless Airtel 4G SIM swaps. Samsung also offers exciting Airtel 4G data benefits on its select 4G devices.
Announcing the launch, Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO, Bharti Airtel (India & South Asia) said, “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 to be the most innovative and customer focused brand.”
Airtel also emphasized that it would have an ‘open’ strategy for its 4G services. It is expected that Reliance Jio, when it launches its service, will try to capture both the service and the devices parts of the business.
“We also believe that an open platform is critical to developing an ecosystem that nurtures innovation and enabling our consumers to access a myriad set of possibilities on their mobile phones. Our 4G network is therefore built on an open partner ecosystem model that brings together the best in the industry and introduces the market to these never before experiences. Together with our network and device partners, we have enabled a deeper proliferation of 4G in the country and I take this opportunity to thank them for working with us to introduce India to the amazing 4G experience”, Gopal added.
Airtel also announced the launch ofa new carrier agnostic mobile app – Wynk Movies – a first of its kind movie mall that will offer a specially curated library of thousands of movies and other popular videos. This follows the successful launch of Wynk Music and establishes Airtel as the only mobile operator in India to offer OTT (Over-the-Top) mobile applications that work across carriers.
To promote the new service, Airtel has come up with a new brand campaign as well.
The TV commercial invites mobile users across India to experience blazing Airtel 4G speeds and opens the ‘Airtel Challenge’ to demonstrate the superior internet experience that Airtel’s smartphone network delivers for its customers.