Airtel has announced the launch of its 4G LTE services in Pune. The city becomes the third in the country after Kolkata and Bengaluru to get 4G services from Airtel.
Pune users can check if Airtel 4G services are available in their area using the map on Airtel's website. They can chose to buy the Airtel 4G dongle and services online. It is worth noting that like Kolkata and Bengaluru, at the moment, 4G can be used only for data services and not voice.
The telecom operator has announced various 4G plans ranging from Rs. 999 for 6GB to Rs. 2,999 for 30GB of data. The plans are categorised under four heads: Break free (Rs.999 for 6GB); Break free Max (Rs1,399 for 9GB); Break free Ultra (Rs. 1,999 for 18GB) and Break free Ultimate (Rs. 2,999 for 30GB).
In order to avail Airtel's 4G network services, users need to purchase the indoor CPE with Wi-Fi router or the 4G Multi Mode dongle for Rs. 4,999 as part of the company's limited special offer.
Commenting on the launch, Mr. K Srinivas, President - Consumer Business, Bharti Airtel said, "Today, we are excited to launch Maharashtra's first 4G experience for Airtel customers in Pune. The response received by Airtel 4G services in Kolkata and Bengaluru has been compelling - thus reinforcing our long term focus on delivering technologies to fulfil the needs of India's rapidly growing data evolution story."
Airtel also announced the launch of three offerings on top of 4G data - Airtel Broadband TV, Games On-Demand and Airtel Movies. Airtel Broadband TV service lets customers view 76 channels and on-demand videos across various genres including movies, music, entertainment and news. The price applicable for this pack is Rs.150 and Rs. 49 for monthly and weekly subscribers respectively.
Games On-Demand service on Airtel will let customers enjoy video games like FIFA and NFS from a host of publishers including as EA, Ubisoft, Square-Enix, PopCap and Alawar. Ranging from Rs. 5 a day for 30 games, to a full-fledged Rs. 199 plan offering over 350 games for a month - as many as seven Games On-Demand plans are now available for customers to enjoy. Airtel Movies features around 1250 titles that customers can choose to watch at any time for a monthly subscription of Rs. 149.
Data usage for all three services will count towards the overall plan. Customers can enjoy all three services free of cost for a limited time.
Furthermore, Airtel has expanded its Smart bytes initiative to the 4G service. Smart Bytes allows users to increase their existing subscribed speeds for more data. Users can use the 4G LTE top-up service which includes 3GB for Rs 600, 5GB for Rs. 875 and 10GB for Rs. 1,500.
Airtel recently launched the Ascend P1 LTE smartphone in partnership with Huawei. The Ascend P1 LTE uses Circuit Switched Voice Fall Back technology to support voice calls over 3G, as under the current 4G license, Airtel can only provide 4G data services. The smartphone is powered by 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, 1GB RAM, 4GB storage, 4.3-inch Super AMOLED qHD display with Gorilla Glass 2, and 8MP rear camera with dual LED flash.
While the company has also introduced cash back offers for post-paid customers, Airtel's 4G services will soon be made available to prepaid customers in Pune.
In 2010, Airtel had successfully bid for BWA license spectrum in Kolkata, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra (excluding Mumbai) circles. Additionally, earlier this year, Bharti Airtel acquired 49 percent interest in Qualcomm AP's India entities that hold BWA licenses in Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Kerala. The company has launched its 4G LTE services in Kolkata, Bengaluru and now Pune, and is currently working towards rolling out networks in remaining licence circles. However, Airtel did not share any timelines for rollout in other circles.
"With both home and office users opting for 4G services, it is heartening to see early adopters of this technology acknowledge the experience that Airtel 4G delivers - for everything from streaming videos and downloading music, to accessing business applications, email and rich multimedia content. We are optimistic about the traction that 4G will see in months to come and look forward to rolling out our services in other circles soon", Srinivas added.