Bharti Airtel has become the first operator in India to enable 4G services on mobile phones.
To start with, the service has been launched on iPhone 5S, 5C and Xolo LT900.
Until now, users could access 4G services in the country only on desktops and laptops through data cards.
Now, consumers with 4G-enabled smartphones will be able to experience high speed Internet browsing in addition to making voice calls on Airtel’s network based on Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology. To avail of the service, users will have to buy 4G-enabled SIM cards from Airtel outlets. The operator will announce the tariffs for this service shortly.
The service will be rolled out in phases starting with Bangalore. Airtel has operational 4G network in Kolkata, Pune and Chandigarh.
4G allows users to get browsing speeds that is five times faster than the existing 3G speeds. Higher speeds enable users to experience services such as high definition video streaming with zero buffering, seamless video calling, and multi-player high resolution gaming While data browsing will be on 4G network, voice calls will be routed on 2G and 3G network. But the user will not get to know because of circuit switched fall back technology.
This technology is needed because LTE is packet-based network running on Internet Protocols while voice calls are circuit-switched.
When an LTE device is used to make or receive a voice call, the device "falls back" to the 3G or 2G network to complete the call.
The launch assumes significance because 4G services around the world have picked up more on mobile phones compared to desktops and laptops.
While Airtel had launched 4G services in 2012, it has not seen much traction primarily because data cards are not conducive for users on the move.