Airtel 3G is going to fade into oblivion very soon. This means that your issues concerning 3G network coverage may be addressed on a lesser priority by the telco. This is because Airtel has stated that it would focus extensively on upgrading its 4G network and reachability hence potentially phasing out 3G. Airtel prepaid users have also been receiving messages from the telco indicating the sunsetting of 3G network coverage.
Now, Airtel 3G users in Karnataka have started receiving messages from the telco asking them to upgrade to 4G or even opt for Mobile Number Portability (MNP). At this point in time, users on 3G smartphones still exist in India and these users are now left with only two choices. These are, upgrade to a 4G-compatible smartphone to retain Airtel as the network operator, or port out to other 3G networks of choice. Early last month, Airtel notified users in its Kolkata telecom circle about the move to close down 3G network services.
The telco’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) had even made public plans to re-farm 3G spectrum across the country and deploy 4G throughout. This is also confirmed to take place in a phased manner. Hence, it now becomes imminent for users to immediately upgrade to a 4G smartphone or even a feature phone to continue using Airtel. In fact, we also received a message regarding this portability to Airtel 4G on a mobile phone. In case users do not upgrade or port out, access to AIrtel voice and data on 3G could be completely disabled. The likely cut-off date for this process is at the earliest, going by Airtel’s message (to 3G users). At this juncture, there have been intense discussions around futuristic 5G as well. Hence, it becomes imminent even if not desirable to look at upgrading to speedy 4G through smartphones. There are affordable smartphones, for legacy device users, and 4G feature phones supporting latest wireless standards as well.