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Airtel ropes in Samsung to proliferate 4G smartphones in India; starts 4G trials in Chennai

Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telecom operator, has started trials for 4G services in Chennai, and has signed a go-to-market deal with Korean smartphone major Samsung for 4G-compatible devices, according to a top company executive.

“Over the last few months, we have made significant investments in building a robust 4G network here,” George Mathen, Airtel’s CEO for Kerala & Tamil Nadu, said in a statement. “We want our existing customers to be the first ones to enjoy the Airtel 4G experience and are offering them a free upgrade to 4G at the same price as 3G.”

For the trial service, Airtel is using the FDD-LTE technology in the 1,800 MHz band. This phase will be used to gather customer feedback, the telecom operator said.

Chinese telecom gear maker Huawei is providing base stations and other equipment for Airtel’s 4G network in the Tamil Nadu telecom circle under a three-year contract. Huawei has been working with the telco for their TDD-LTE technology-based 4G networks in Karnataka and Delhi circles.

As per the terms of the tie up, Samsung India and Airtel will promote each other’s 4G offerings at their respective outlets. Samsung India’s retail stores will also facilitate easy Airtel 4G SIM swap for customers buying 4G smartphones.

Going ahead, Samsung will also offer bundled Airtel 4G SIMs along with its 4G-compatible handsets, Mathen said. Airtel 4G double data offers are now available for Samsung’s Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy A7 and Galaxy A5 mobile devices. Samsung will also be looking at launching its all-new Core Prime 4G mobile smartphone in Airtel 4G markets.

Airtel’s 4G services are now available across India including Chennai, Bengaluru, Pune, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Amritsar. (Chennai trial has started with commercial service)

In March, chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal had said that the company plans to double its 4G network by installing about 20,000 more sites.

Airtel, India’s largest telecom operator has started 4G trials for its existing customers in Chennai, besides signing a go-to-market partnership with smartphone major Samsung to proliferate 4G devices.

Under the trial, the company is providing complimentary upgrade to Airtel 4G at 3G prices. The telco said that it will use this trial phase to gather customer feedback around the quality of its 4G services.

The company has started trial of 4G services in Chennai in 1800 Mhz band using the FDD-LTE technology, which is already developed at the global level.

Under the tie-up, Samsung India and Airtel will promote each others’ 4G offerings at their respective outlets. Samsung India’s retail stores will also facilitate easy Airtel 4G SIM swap for customers buying 4G smartphones.

Going ahead, Samsung will also offer bundled Airtel 4G SIMs alongwith Samsung 4G handsets available in the Indian market.

Airtel 4G double data offers are now available for Samsung’s Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy A7 and Galaxy A5 mobile devices. Samsung will also be looking at launching its all new Core Prime 4G mobile smartphone in Airtel 4G markets.

“Over the last few months, we at Airtel have made significant investments in building a robust 4G network here. We want our existing customers to be the first ones to enjoy the Airtel 4G experience and are offering them a free upgrade to Airtel 4G at the same price as 3G,” George Mathen, CEO – Kerala & Tamil Nadu, Bharti Airtel (India), said in a statement.

Airtel’s 4G services are now available across India including Chennai, Bengaluru, Pune, Chandigarh and Amritsar.

Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal in March said that the company has plans to double its 4G network by installing about 20,000 more sites in addition to 20,000 sites it already has for 4G service.

Source: Telecom.economictimes

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