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A quick go through Airtel’s iPhone 5S page will tell you why many of us might be reluctant to buy iPhone this year. Reason- whopping cost of Rs 71 k for single device (that too without insurance 🙁  )

Samsung, the other competitor & global leader in Smartphone market, has also launched its flagship Galaxy Series phone (Note 3) last month globally with a Smartwatch gear. Albeit phone is quite capable in terms of feature lists, the price tag may spoilsport the moods of many Samsung devotees in India.

Indian Smartphone market at present boasts couple of LTE (4G) capable phones (release 8 onward UE Category 1), notably LG’s G2 & iPhone 5S to name at top. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (802.11ac capable) has no LTE which is again no go for the phone. But if you read closely the specifications of any LTE Phone it mentions some LTE (4G) bands which the phone is supporting. What are they?

Before we delve deep down, let me explain the modes of operations of 4G. Globally 4G aka LTE & LTE Advance supports multiple frequency bands of operation either on FDD (Frequency Division Duplex) or TDD (Time Division Duplex). Only difference here is the phone which you would be buying should support couple of them in major countries where LTE has been aggressively being rolled out. Good news is that most of the phone manufacturers have taken care of this to save your hassles.

Now coming back to TDD & FDD LTE Smartphones, both are access technologies and phones such as G2 & iPhone 5 supports both modes of 4G. In case of FDD, the regulator of the country has allocated a paired frequency band while in case of TDD; no such paired band is allocated to carriers.

In India, if you are really keen on knowing which LTE (4G) bands are allocated you can check details circle wise here. But overall, if you see, the entire LTE (4G BWA) band allocation at present lay in 2300-2400 MHz band, where 20 MHz of spectrum is allocated to two carriers in each circle. So if you are staying in Delhi, you could choose between Reliance 4G (yet to launch) or Airtel 4G (pre-planning going on), both on TDD LTE Band 40 (2300-2400 MHz).

So India at present is having 4G bands allocated in TDD 2300-2400 MHz and both iPhone 5 & LG G2 supports TDD LTE Operations in band 40. What about other phones like Xolo LTE Device?

Really speaking, I haven’t investigated detailed specs of new LTE devices in market, but you can be sure of your investments by checking detailed specifications at manufacturer’s webpage. Most of the LTE device makers are already satisfying TDD 2.3-2.4 GHz TDD band 40 support requirement in India.

But other aspect, which might play important role in coming years, is LTE Roaming and band support globally. So if you look at iPhone 5S Specs, it supports FDD 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 20 bands, while TDD band 38, 39 & 40. What all these bands are?

A Chart below will give details about LTE FDD Bands supported worldwide:

 

LTE FDD bands

 

While TDD LTE Bands supported are as below:

LTE TDD Bands

 

 

So do check the bands supported by any LTE Capable device before investing.

One interesting aspect, which yet to be topic of interest among buyers would be MIMO (Multi Input- Multi Output) Capability of LTE Devices. Although LG G2 supports MIMO more details are awaited for other devices. MIMO, is optional feature with Category 1 LTE Devices, but soon would be mandatory feature in Cat 5 devices. Apart from cost & device complexity implications, MIMO would help to achieve higher data rates for UPLINK & DOWNLINK channels. So MIMO Capable devices will quickly download a movie from Youtube than a non-MIMO device due to support of Spatial Multiplexing support, giving throughput upto 100 Mbps or even more in Downlink.

Why investing is these devices doesn’t make sense at present? So while you are willing to spend Rs 46 k for Galaxy Note 3, the carriers are making no efforts to make such high value deals viable. If you are Vodafone subscriber, you are entitled just 2 GB 3G Data (worth Rs 500) for two months. Similar deals are available for other high end devices from other carriers. But does that make sense? If carriers are willing to exploit more money out of data, such high end Smartphone buyers should be at center of launching special offers to boost data uptakes & making high cost smartphone purchases look more attractive. Offering some amount of free data doesn’t seem to be enough discounting for new purchaser. Moreover, till the Smartphone makers move away from marketing only feature list than benefits, buyers need more incentive to buy high tech devices.

Tags : 4G PhonesAirtel iPhone 5SLG G2LTE Devices in India
Atul Deshpande

The author Atul Deshpande

35 Comments

  1. Hi I am about to buy a Moto G. But I on the other hand I think I should wait for some time as Motorola might launch Moto G 4G in India as it has launched it in the U.S. However in the U.S it has launched the Moto G 4 G LTE FDD model but in India the 4g will be available on the TDD not the FDD. My question is I have some relatives visiting the U.S next month, and they can bring the Moto G 4G LTE FDD for me.But if 4G comes to India and it comes in “TDD”, then will that Moto G 4G LTE “FDD” support Indian 4G network? I don’t want a 4G FDD phone that later on doesn’t support Indian 4G TDD. Should I go for the currently available Moto G 3G, should I wait for the Indian 4G TDD handset or should I get the 4G FDD handset from the U.S.? Please help.

    1. Hi Akhil,

      I understand your dilemma. At the moment, India’s doesn’t have any FDD LTE so the best best would be to wait till FDD LTE & its devices get launched in India. Till the time, you don’t want to invest in TDD LTE (Especially in Bangaluru Airtel’s iPhone 5C/5S), better would be to buy Moto G 3G version & enjoy 3G at the moment.

      Buying LTE phone in India would be tricky & I suppose Samsung might bring something to India (Cheap LTE Phone tied with Telco roll out). Let’s wait & watch till your investment in Smartphone is safe!

  2. hi atul,
    i own a lg g2 , so if i get a airtel 4g Sim, it should work right ? currently am on 3g but wanted to try 4g.

    Thanks in advance

    1. Yes, you can do that. In fact, I wrote a blog about ‘4G’ devices available in India. You can check that also.

    1. Yes it does support LTE 1800 MHz band, but you have wait till someone rolls out LTE(4G) network in that band. If you are Airtel customer, then unfortunately it doesn’t support.

  3. Hi Athul,

    My query is the other way around..Will the Indian variant of HTC One M8 support FDD bands back in US??!!if not ,any other Indian handset does so(say forget 5S/5C) ??

  4. Hi Atul,
    I learnt that R Jio is most likely to launch on 2300 MHz, can you guide which smartphone to invest in which is compatible to R Jio ?

    1. It’s all speculation at the moment. They got all the arsenal with them, but things are getting delayed. I still believe, if you got the budget iPhone 5S/5C is the best choice, if you want to experience LTE on mobile. There are other options like LG G2/G3 & Samsung devices, but it’s tough to comment about them for LTE.

  5. Hi ,
    I have bought a lg g2 4g Lte , I need to know if it shall work in India incase 4g net work is not available will the 3G network be able to be accessed .

    Anant

  6. Hi Atul,
    sony xperia z/z1 indian model is not supporting 4G LTE,but international model supports 4G LTE if i buy international model how can i check it support which 4G LTE band ? just to check that mobile i bought is original or duplicate.

    1. If you buy any international LTE support phone, pls make sure it support LTE Band 3 (1800 MHz) & Band 40 both (2300 MHz). These two bands are LTE bands in India.

      You can check Phone Manufacturer’s Specification page for details about LTE bands support. Don’t rely on other information sources, of which credibility is hard to confirm. Hope this helps.

  7. Hi Atul,

    Very useful information. Thanks. Motorola has released Moto G 4G LTE recently. I could not get the frequency details of it? Does it work for indian 4G network? This is the cheapest 4G phone available in india as of now, I suppose…

    1. Hi Hema,

      Sorry, but I couldn’t verify Moto G 4G LTE India version Specs at the moment. This’s all tricky & I suggest, if you got budget buy iPhone 5C/5S or LG G2, for India based 4G band support (Band 3 & 40).

      Moto G 4G (Global) version doesn’t support any of India 4G Bands, and would suggest you to check on Moto Device page, before you buy one.

      Best Wishes

  8. I am planning to buy Huawei Honor 6
    Model: H60-L02
    Band: 2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
    3G: WCDMA B1(2100MHz)/B8(900MHz)
    4G: FDD-LTE: B1(2100MHz)/B3(1800MHz); TDD-LTE: B41(2496-2690MHz

    Is this 4G useful in maharashtra.

    1. Looks good, but no 4G Network in Maharashtra in those bands. For 2G/3G, it’s good. Only Pune has 4G in MH in Band 40 (2300 MHz) by Airtel and which works on 4G Dongles & Home Routers, but not on Mobile.

      I would rather suggest to go with iPhone 5C/5S or LG G2 for India based 4G Support of bands.

      Best Wishes

  9. I found a couple of flaws with this article. First of all what does 802.11ac or MIMO have to do with 4G LTE. 802.11ac is a standard for WiFi and MIMO is an antenna configuration again for WiFi only.These things do not affect 4G LTE in anyway. The rest of the things in this article are quite informative.

  10. Next month I am going to Dubai. So thought of buying iphone 6 from there as its 10k cheaper there. Can you please tell me should i go for it? I am tensed about 4G LTE speciafications of dubai made model. Will dubai made iphone 6 support 4G LTE of India?

  11. Vishwa,

    I think there’s confusion here. I said, devices do support 802.11ac, the Gigabit Wi-Fi, which has MIMO support from device or device has 2×2 MIMO Antennas.

    For LTE, at the moment, no MIMO support is available, when article was written.

    Hope this helps.

    1. GSM SIMs are different. You need 3G onwards USIMs to use 3G/HSPA/LTE services. Especially you want to use LTE, you need LTE SIMs.

  12. So what preferred Network type (LTE recommended OR 3G) one should select for one plus phones in Mumbai for Vodafone Subscriber’s

  13. I bought htc on e8 from reliance. can i connect internet using bsnl using sim 2? I can,t change access point of sim 2

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