The Airtel 4G rollout testing begins in Delhi/NCR
Striker's club view before the presentation began
With a decent bit of secrecy. Airtel decided to invite a handful of people from Delhi/NCR, for their event at the Striker's Pub in Delhi's Vasant Kunj area. Obviously the venue was an attraction, but more than anything else, Airtel's partial secrecy about the whole affair garnered interest. As it turns out, the roll-out for 4G services in the Delhi/NCR will be out in the near future, and the Bharti-owned brand in gunning big time for feedback across the board.
What the event was really about- speed of mobile internet
With mobile internet becoming a must have, especially with the young blood in the country, and a lot of innovation being spruced by it, Airtel is gunning big time on making the first entry into the market, and ensuring it has the benefit of customer loyalty with it. And yes, it is the speed which is now becoming the differentiating factor for services, since virtually everything seems to be going online, and happening there itself.
Devices testing the difference between 3G and 4G speeds
Though 4G came into India earlier than known, the introduction to the services in the Delhi/NCR region will be unique. Like Sarang Kanade, HUB CEO of the Delhi-NCR & Rajasthan markets mentioned, the consumers will avail the advantages of having the integrated the nation's first integrated FD and TD 4G network from the company working for them, which will enhance the extra fast speed (as shown above on a speed test) experience. Ideally speaking, on plain terms, it means that fast internet speed which became such a hit with 3G itself, will take much further leaps, whereby 30 MBPS is something one can actually witness on a regular basis.
Current 4G quality testing on the Samsung A5 handset
For testing purposes, the audience in attendance were given a Samsung A5 handset, which is 4G enabled (obviously!), and a dongle which converts to a 4G hot spot. However, in real time testing outside certain venues, the connection is yet to catch up to the standard claims it has put forward. For example, in the picture above, a web browser was used to log in to Twitter, and make modifications in the account thereof. However, being located in Noida, the services seemed bleak, and often changed 2G speeds, though the 4G notification was always on (as seen above). It did start pretty strongly with smooth videos on Youtube, some quick surfing of online videos, browsing social media through browsers, checking bank account details, etc. but it was definitely shaky.
Gmail testing on the 4G connection
Things became a little disappointing with the G-Mail application too. Since the earlier trial was with the web browser, this one was tried with the Gmail application on the A5 handset (a mighty sleek and sweet thing to hold), and it seemed to lag quiet a bit. The data exchange seemed to be struggling catch up as well. In all, not the most impressive thing to start with. Here are some numbers from the speed test conducted:
Date, ConnType, Lat, Lon,
Download, Upload, Latency, ServerName, InternalIp, ExternalIp
36323", 3.75,0.10,57,"New Delhi","100.99.49.2","223.176. 139.250"
Some more 4G testing on gmail
So, to cut to the chase whether the plans to unveil 4G is a failure? NO! Why so, after the experience just detailed above? Well, Airtel has something great to offer, which is still very new, and will catch up in numbers, both from the consumers and the infrastructure point of view. But like most grand plans, a 4G consumer base will take time, as much of the country still lags with 2G connections. However, the metros have shown exceptional adaptability to new technology and 4G will go the same way. I guess patience will see things through, and it will be worth the way to see how things shape up. Also, it would be important to notice what the competitors like Tata, Vodafone, Idea, and the likes, do to match Bharti Enterprises' premier brand.
4G hotspot dongle front view
Airtel is also innovating fast enough. They have come up with this new 4G hotspot device that lets you run a 4G wi-fi connection, but only if you have a 4G enabled sim-card for him. Also, they have mentioned that all 3G sim-cards in use currently, can be upgraded to 4G, without much of extra hassle. Even the existent payment plans remain the same, but its the experience which gets the upgrade. This 4G experience is seriously seamless, but needs a good connectivity for wide-large embracing.
4G dongle rear view
Since the event took place at Strikers at the Ambience Mall, there were a few likable elements too. Here are a few glimpses.
The Avalanche mocktail
The tables @ Striker
Among the legends