India has the fastest growing mobile internet base across the world and is poised to become the 2nd largest country (by user base) across the world. Indian telecom operators have increased the pace of their 4G rollouts. Earlier, mostly Airtel was launching 4G throughout the country. Currently Vodafone and Idea have stepped up their games, launching 4G in various circles. With so many operators launching/poised to launch 4G in the coming weeks and months, it’s becoming increasingly confusing as to which operator is launching 4G in which location and under which band.
There are mainly 6 different internet providers. Different operators will follow different strategies depending on their spectrum holdings. And there are primarily 4 spectrum bands on which 4G deployment is expected to take place.
- Band 5 / 850 MHz band – This band is primarily held by the yet-to-be launched operator Reliance Jio and Reliance Communications. It will provide great coverage to Reliance Jio. Reliance Communications, MTS, Tata Docomo and BSNL/MTNL are other holders of this band.
- Band 3 / 1800 MHz band – This band is already being used for 2G services in India. But this band also has the most developed device ecosystem in the world for 4G. As of now, spectrum that can be used for 4G services in this band are held by Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Reliance Jio, Aircel, Reliance Communications, Telenor, Videocon.
- Band 40 / 2300 MHz band – This is also a popular band for 4G deployments in India. Currently Reliance Jio, Aircel, Airtel and Tikona can use this band for 4G deployments.
- Band 41 / 2500 MHz band – This band is primarily held by BSNL and MTNL. They have decided to surrender a good chunk of this band in various service areas.
Main LTE Frequencies for Indian Carriers
|Carriers||4G Bands||3G Bands|
|Aircel||B40 (TDD 2300Mhz)||B1 (2100Mhz)|
|Airtel||B40 (TDD 2300Mhz)
B3 (FDD 1800Mhz)
B8 (900 Mhz GSM)
|BSNL||B41 (TDD 2500Mhz)||B1 (2100Mhz)|
|Idea||B3 (FDD 1800Mhz)||B1 (2100Mhz)
B8 (900 Mhz GSM)
|Reliance Jio||B40 (TDD 2300Mhz)||B1 (2100Mhz)|
|Vodafone||B3 (FDD 1800Mhz)||B1 (2100Mhz)|
Compatible Modems/MiFi/CPE for Indian Carriers
The main LTE frequencies now in use is TDD 2300, TDD 2500 and FDD 1800Mhz. Most of devices could support FDD 1800mhz. But in contrast, there are few devices could support TDD 2300/2500Mhz, especially TDD 2500Mhz.
For other supported devices for Indian carriers, please comment below.