India’s top telecom service provider Bharti Airtel on Thursday said it has commercially launched its fourth generation (4G) communications services in 296 towns across the country.
“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,” Gopal Vittal, managing director and chief executive officer of the company, said at the launch event here.
“The national roll-out today is another small step in our journey to be the most innovative and customer focused brand,” he said, adding that the company’s journey in 4G began with the launch in Kolkata in April 2012, followed by successive beta offerings in 51 cities.
“The roll-out will take place in few weeks.”
Here’s all you need to know about the company’s offerings:
1) According to the company, customers in the 296 towns will be able to experience high speed wireless broadband and get on to the digital superhighway to enjoy uninterrupted high definition video streaming, superfast uploading and downloading of movies, music and images.
2) The company is offering 4G at 3G data prices with packs starting at Rs 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’.
3) ‘Wynk Movies’ is a new carrier agnostic mobile app, which it claimed was first-of-its-kind movie mall that will offer 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, the company claimed.
4) The company has introduced a new range of ‘Infinity Plans’ starting at Rs 999 — high-end offers for unlimited voice calls on mobile along with data benefits and access to ‘Wynk Movies’ and ‘Wynk Music’.
5) The company’s capital expenditure for 2015-16 is a whopping$2.2 billion. However, it did not divulge the details on the money spent and intended to be spent in offering 4G services. Brokerage Emkay had in the post-earnings report said that it expects capex intensity to rise in India in the coming quarters.
6) To opt for Airtel 4G, customers have to switch to a 4G SIM.
7) Bharti Airtel has ramped up its 4G push ahead of the anticipated entry of Reliance Industries Ltd, which plans to start pan-India 4G services in December though Reliance Jio. “We are children of competition in a way and we work in a brutal marketplace which makes us better and sharper,” Vittal told Business Standard in an interview. He also said he expects the prices of handsets to fall to Rs 4,500 or so due to competition.