Bharti Airtel on Friday released a joint statement with Apple announcing the launch of "India's first 4G on mobile" services in Bangalore. According to the statement, iPhone 5s
customers will be able to use 4G services, as these phones support the 2300MHz TD-LTE band that Airtel
is using for 4G services in the city. Other phones that support the 2300MHz TD-LTE band, like Airtel's co-branded phone with Huawei, the Ascend P1 LTE
, will also be able to enjoy the 4G services. Unfortunately, there are not many such phones available in the Indian market, hence the claims of the service being 'exclusive' to Apple's
Notably, Airtel says 3G subscribers will be able to get 4G mobile Internet speeds at the same rate as their current 3G tariffs. To access the services, existing 2G and 3G subscribers will have to upgrade their SIM card to a 4G SIM card.
Airtel says while data browsing will be on 4G networks (where available), voice calls will be routed to 2G/ 3G networks 'seamlessly' with the CSFB (Circuit Switched Fall Back) technology. In addition to the regular 3G plans, Airtel also announced the launch of a new 4G plan for heavy data users, giving customers 10GB of 4G data for Rs. 1,000.
Announcing the launch, Srini Gopalan, Director - Consumer Business, Bharti Airtel India said, "Airtel has always set the technology trends in India and was the first operator to introduce 4G to the country. The Information Technology capital of India saw the advent of 4G in 2012 and today we are proud to announce the launch of the much awaited Airtel 4G services on mobile in partnership with Apple. We will together give customers in Bengaluru the power to upgrade to cutting edge 4G LTE technology at no additional cost. As a brand we are committed to enriching lives of millions by giving them the best user experience and invite our data savvy customers in the city to enjoy this world class data experience."
Airtel had launched India's first 4G network in April 2012 in Kolkata
, later expanding the service to Bangalore
, though these have been been data-only offerings till date.