BSNL, the state-owned telecom operator, has finally launched 4G in Kerala, starting from bigger cities like Thrissur.
Consumers who have upgraded to the 4G SIM can latch on to the operator’s LTE network.
The operator is using the 2100 MHz spectrum to deliver 4G services.
The 2100 MHz spectrum, which used to be deployed exclusively for 3G in India, is known as ‘Band 1’ in 4G. Nearly all 4G phones in use in India also support Band 1 LTE.
BSNL also has high-capacity spectrum in Band 41, but is likely to deploy that spectrum only in areas facing congestion as it has poor coverage or propagation.
The company was originally scheduled to start 4G services nearly a year ago, but faced technical difficulties in implementing its solution.
This forced the company to redraw its plans and seek extra spectrum in the 2100 MHz band from the government.
The government is learnt to have allocated an extra carrier in the 2100 MHz band so that BSNL can use the band for delivering both its 3G and 4G services.
Kerala is BSNL’s most lucrative circle and one of the few profitable ones.
It had been under tremendous pressure from its customers in the state to launch 4G services as its 3G service had become saturated in most places, with data speeds dipping to Kilobits per second instead of Megabits per second.
BSNL started testing its 4G network in Kerala a few months ago.
It also started upgrading subscribers to 4G SIMs in November. Users in most towns of BSNL in Kerala can upgrade themselves to a 4G SIM by going to the company’s customer service centers, even if 4G network has not been launched in their town or city.
Currently the 4G launch is limited to the bigger cities in the state and will be expanded to smaller towns over the next one year or so.
BSNL 4G TARIFF PLANS
Meanwhile, BSNL recently increased the daily data allocation on its 3G recharge of Rs 485 from 1.5 GB per day for 90 days to 3.71 GB per day for 90 days.
However, because of the 4G launch, the increase in data allocation was not carried out in Kerala.
Despite this, BSNL does offer several low-priced data packs and plans in Kerala.
The company, for example, offers 30 GB of data for Rs 98 with at the rate of 1.5 GB/day for 20 days — one of the most affordable daily data plans in India.
Similarly, using the Rs 155 recharge plan, Kerala BSNL users can get 2 GB of data per day for 17 days.
Meanwhile, the Rs 189 recharge pack gives 2.2 GB of data per day for 26 days in Kerala.
For heavy users, the company also offers the Rs 339 plan, which gives 3GB of data per day for 26 days, along with free 30 minutes of voice calls per day.
In terms of long-term recharges, BSNL offers 1.5 GB of data per day for 90 days under its Rs 551 data pack.
There is also a 3 GB data per day plan priced at Rs 1098 and valid for 84 days. However, Reliance Jio offers 3 GB per day for 84 days, along with free calls, for Rs 897.
The state-owned telecom operator also offers a 399 plan which gives free calls and 1.5 GB of data per day for 74 days in Kerala.
Many Keralites prefer BSNL as the company does not deduct talk time balance by automatically activating value added services and so on. It also tends to offer competitive voice tariffs and is generally considered a reliable operator in terms of its network quality and reach.