Airtel on Friday announced the discontinuation of 3G services in the southern state of Kerala. Meaning, Airtel 3G users in Kerala will no longer be able to use Airtel's 3G services in the state. Airtel is upgrading all its 3G users to 4G services in the state. But Airtel will continue to provide 2G services across Kerala.
Airtel's discontinuation of 3G services in Kerala is essentially a part of the telco's plan to phase out 3G technology. Starting November 8, Airtel mobile broadband services in Kerala will be available on 4G network and Airtel 3G customers have been upgraded to 4G. Meanwhile, Airtel will continue to provide 2G services in Kerala, which is the primary source of connectivity for feature phone users.
"The deployment of 4G and re-farming of 3G spectrum is in line with our national strategy of providing seamless connectivity and superior data experience to our customers," said Nagananda U, COO- Kerala, Bharti Airtel. "4G LTE service provides a high speed internet access that fits the needs and provides fast Internet speeds for consumers living in suburban and urban areas with more high speed broadband service options, Airtel 4G LTE affords new competitive high speed broadband choices."
Airtel says all 3G customers were notified and requested to upgrade their handsets and SIMs to 4G. 3G customers who haven't yet upgraded their handsets or SIMs will continue to receive voice services. In Kerala, Airtel says it has re-farmed 2100 Mhz band, which was being used for 3G. Airtel hopes the same frequency band will further help the company strengthen position into 4G network coverage.
Re-farming of 3G spectrum for 4G is expected to boost Airtel's network capacity and the wider availability of Airtel 4G. In Kerala, Airtel says it uses a spectrum bank across 2300 Mhz (TD LTE), 2100 Mhz (LTE 2100), and 1800 Mhz (FD LTE) to offer 4G services to customers. In related news, Airtel recently announced that its prepaid users purchasing Rs 599 receive Rs 4 lakh life insurance cover from Bharti AXA Life Insurance.