Airtel to phase out 3G within 2 years

Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal had caused quite a stir a few months ago when he declared that the company’s 3G networks would be the first to go with the continued popularity of 2G and rise of 4G. The brand hadn’t made a final decision at that point of time, but a new report hints that things are looking grim for 3G.

A person with direct knowledge of the matter told Livemint that Airtel is looking to phase out 3G within 2 years. The source claims that the brand’s 3G rollout is over and will shut down within 2 to 3 years. It’s now planning to migrate all its 3G users to 4G.

The switch will be based on the VoLTE communication standard and is set to be completed within the next few months. The move will help save on the cost of operations and improves user experience. An Airtel spokesperson claims that 3G networks will get eliminated in India well ahead of the rest of the world.

Airtel 3G

The spokesperson was also quick to add that Airtel would not like to speculate regarding its network plans, but it seems pretty obvious the telecom player is heading in a 3G-less direction. Most smartphones nowadays support 4G technology, so device availability isn’t an issue.

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Even feature phones like the Reliance JioPhone and Micromax Bharat 1 now support 4G, leaving no space for 3G to exist between 2G and 4G. The former is still favored by over 300 million Indians as it’s cheaper and serves the basic function of making voice calls.