4G LTE is still in its nascent stages in India and looks like Airtel is taking full advantage of its monopoly in this situation. The largest Indian telecom company is still not offering APN settings to anyone but OEMs who have partnered with Airtel to offer 4G LTE in India.
What this essentially means is if you don’t have a smartphone which was launched in partnership with Airtel and is available on Airtel stores, you won’t be able to readily access Airtel 4G LTE in India, even if your phone supports Airtel’s 4G LTE frequency (TDD-LTE in Band 40 – 2300 MHz).
Some Airtel Stores won’t even offer you a USIM if you don’t have a phone supported by Airtel. Even if you do get one, you will have to scrounge for APNs from several web pages, but most of these are for bengaluru. You can still manually edit these APN settings, and get things running in all circles, but without any support from Airtel.
One of our readers contacted Airtel customer care support when he couldn’t activate 4G on OnePlus One, even though its supports 4G LTE. Airtel executive explained that if band 40 is supported, users will get 4G LTE symbol but only 3G speeds.
4G is still available in very few circles and it isn’t yet available in Delhi NCR region where we operate. So basically, if 4G LTE is the top priority for you in your next smartphone, just buying a 4G compatible smartphone won’t be enough. It would be better if you consult Airtel customer care or pay a visit to Airtel experience store before your proceed. Otherwise, the 4G LTE support won’t mean much on your device.
Some smartphones which support Airtel’s 4G network include Apple iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5s and 5c, Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G, Samsung Galaxy Alpha, LG G3, Samsung Galaxy A5 and LG G2.
Thanks Sudhan for the tip