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'4G' in India -- A Myth, Busted!

(courtesy: thehindu.com)

Yesterday, it was all over the Internet and today it was coverd in the business and tech sections of leading news dailies   "Airtel presents 4G" read the advertisement on the second page of the TOI which left me spellbound. It was a full page advert and Airtel boasted to be the first service provider to serve 4G network in India. India is still new to 3G as its launch was delayed (as usual) due to ongoing political and scams. Since its new, it  isn't popular with the public and as it is offered at a very high price. The public prefers to stick to the 2G plan, even though it is slow or use the WiFi.

Telecom minister Kapil Sibal inaugrated the first 4G LTE ( Long term evolution) service for India, less did he know that this is actually a 3GPP ( 3rd Generation Partnership Project ) LTE service but is marketed as 4G. Yes, the service Airtel is promising to offer you isnt 4G but 3GPP LTE. Its just a marketing trick to affectionately call 3GPP LTE as 4G LTE.

 What is the 'real' 4G?

A data service can be called 4G when its offers you 100Mbps to 1Gbps download speeds. 100Mbps when in high mobility communication modes such as trains and buses and 1Gbps for low mobility communication such as pedestrians and stationary users. 

 Airtel's 4G LTE
 Airtel is claiming to provide you with upto 100Mbps download speed and 40Mbps upload speed. But as you know, they never give what they promise, so you might get around 20-25Mbps download speed and 10-12Mbps upload speed. It is currently being offered on in Kolkata. They plan to launch it for the rest soon. 

Therefore.. according to the ITUR standards, 4G should allow you to download at 1Gbps (considering the upper limit) wheras Airtel is offering just 100Mbps as the upper limit!  No, I am not saying that they are frauds or liars or whatever Airtel is doing is morally incorrect. This gimmick of calling 3GPP LTE as 4G LTE is common. 
Just don't get too captivated thinking that we are on 4G.

And take note, this Airtel 4G LTE services is only available as a USB stick or wireless modem which can only be plugged onto a laptop or a PC or can be used as WiFi. Hence, do not fantasize of downloading movies at high speed or watching buffer-free-YouTube from your mobile device while your travelling in the densely populated Virar fast.

Now, hold you breath and glance at the tariff rates of the Airtel 4G LTE
(courtesy: airtel.in)

(speedtest for Airtel 4G LTE)
This is not all, you will have to let loose a Rs.7,750 for a USB Modem or Rs.7,999 for a wireless router.  Then the question is, is it worth it?? Yes*, absolutely it is . The asterisk after 'Yes' is because; you would opt for the new 4G LTE only if;
1. You find your current connection too slow and would like to settle for the best.
2. Your work requires a fast connection and you work even while travelling 
3. You do not mind blowing up loads of money for just faster downloads.
4. You are a tech freak and keep believe in having the best among your friends.

But remember that you would not be using a 'Fourth Generation technology' So its 3GPP LTE which has come to India and the world;4G is yet to come.


  1. thanks for awakening me..had a fight with my friend about this..even i couldn't believe 4 g india

  2. "20-25Mbps download speed and 10-12Mbps upload speed" is marketed as 4G LTE in the U.S. Blame it on their telecoms carrier for imprinting the wrong idea if you may.

  3. Its not just in India,even in US,currently the carriers are offering 4G LTE or 3GPP. The actual 4G band is named as 4G Advanced which is still not implemented anywhere in the world.

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