Can Airtel improve 4G service sales without promising guaranteed speed

Telecom Lead India: Can Bharti Airtel improve sales of 4G / LTE services without promising guaranteed speed?

India’s # telecom operator does not promise / publish the details of speed of its much publicized 4G / LTE services which are available in Kolkatta, Bangalore, Pune and Chandigarh.

Sharing download and upload speed of 4G is one of the key factors that can attract consumers. Earlier, Airtel used to say that its 4G offers 10x speed of 3G services. Recently, Airtel stopped talking this as well to avoid complaints from 4G consumers.

Why Airtel does not talk 4G speed

Bharti Airtel, the only operators in India to offer 2G, 3G and 4G services, is not sharing speed of the fourth generation mobile broadband services because the company says the speed of 4G services varies depending on the number of subscribers on the network.

In February 2013, Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal, when speaking at the Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, said that the company’s 4G services have more than 20,000 subscribers.

At present, Airtel does not have any competition in 4G / LTE space in India. Its main rival Reliance Jio Infocomm, promoted by Reliance Industries’ Mukesh Ambani, will be launching 4G on the TD-LTE network in 2014. 4G of Airtel went live in 2012.

Global telecom operators’ 4G speed

Malaysian telecom operator, which has a stake in India’s Aircel, says Maxis 4G LTE offers average speed of 75Mbps.

EE of UK offers average download speeds on 4G of 19.4Mbps and average download speeds across 3G & 4G of 13.6Mbps.

SingTel, equity shareholder of Airtel and a telecom operator in Singapore, says its 4G / LTE users can enjoy typical speed range of 3.4Mbps – 12Mbps.

SingTel says users can experience this download speeds 80 percent of the time, over a 24-hour period at various locations with 4G / LTE coverage. If a user moves out of 4G to 3G coverage, he will experience a typical download speed range of 1.7Mbps to 4.8Mbps, 80 percent of the time.

The speed range may vary between users and is subject to device used, hardware and software limitation, 4G network coverage/traffic, distance between user and base station, nature of built-up area, source of website and other external factors, according to SingTel.

Regarding the 4G speed of Vodafone Australia, news website NBR says it has hit mobile data speeds of 70Mbit/s+ down and 30Mbit/s+ up.

When contacted by, customer care executives at Verizon Wireless said its offers download speed of 5Mbs and upload 12Mbs.

Interestingly, AT&T does not talk about specific 4G speed.

SK Telekom of Korea also does not promise guaranteed speed of its 4G network.

Airtel faces tough 4G market conditions

Airtel, which usually gives much thrust to its achievements, never spoke about its 4G milestones though it launched TD-LTE services a year ago. Its ARPU from 4G is around $20.

Look at the achievement of EE in the U.K. EE last week said it achieved more than 500,000 customers in 7 months after launch. EE has also announced the next phase of its 4G network roll out across the U.K.

For the first time, customers will be able to pay for 4GEE internet access on their tablets and laptops without a long-term commitment. Customers will be able to choose between a range of data bundles to use with their device – whether it’s a tablet, laptop or mobile Wi-Fi device.

EE will also roll out its double-speed 4G in ten cities within weeks. This innovation will boost headline speeds to 80Mbps, and will more than double the current average speeds to 24-30Mbps.

By the end of June, EE’s 4G network will reach over 55 percent of the UK population, and will cover 98 percent by the end of 2014.

Baburajan K
[email protected]