India Mobile

AirTel India 2G and 3G Network Review & Speed Test

Update: If you’d like to file complaint against AirTel then check out THIS VIDEO.

AirTel is one of the largest telecom service provider in India and the company is claiming that its 3G network has grown by 42%. Let’s check out in this post a short review about AirTel’s 2G as well as 3G network and their respective speed test results.

Before we start reviewing the network and see speed test results, keep following things in mind:

  • We have used Samsung Galaxy Note 2, an Android powered smartphone capable of handling 2G, 3G and 4G networks, for performing network speed tests. The device was connected to a computer (PC) by means of USB tethering.
  • The test was performed at Bhopal, India.
  • The strength and speed of the network may vary from one city/location to another. Don’t jump to any conclusions just by reading this review post. Try to use the network yourself and do some speed tests.

Activating 2G and 3G services on your mobile device

If you have recently purchased a brand new SIM card of AirTel, then your internet settings must already be present in it. In case you are using a very old SIM card or have lost/deleted internet settings, then you can receive your new GPRS/3G settings just by following any one of following mentioned steps:

1. Contact customer care: Contact AirTel’s customer care using the same number for which you want to activate internet services. Keep in mind that the customer care executive may ask you the brand and model number of your mobile device.

2. Manually enter Internet Settings: If you know how to manually configure Access Point Names (APN) on your smartphone or tablet device, then try entering following details:

Note: The following values may change any time. You may also want to refer the manual of your handset.

  • Name: Airtel Internet or Mobile Office
  • Access Point Name (APN):
  • Clear the Proxy, Port, Username, Password, Server, MMSC, MMS Proxy, MMS Port and Authentication type fields.
  • Leave MCC, MNC and any other field to their default values.
  • Select Internet as APN Type.

Save the settings and internet on your device should start working instantly.

3. Request settings online: Head over to this page >> enter your mobile number and click on Submit button. You will receive your internet settings on your mobile device within few minutes.

Once you have successfully saved internet settings on your mobile device, go to the official website of AirTel and recharge your account with a 2G or 3G pack.

Important Notes:

  • If you are a postpaid user of AirTel, then the internet activation process for your number can be completely different. You are required to contact customer care of the company for receiving internet settings.
  • If you do not want to recharge your account online, then you can always go to your nearest recharge shop.

Setting up your device

Once you have recharged your number with your preferred internet pack, you are now required to select a suitable network mode on your mobile device. You may want to refer to your device’s manual to see a list of all supported Network modes. For example, following are the network modes available in Note 2:

  • GSM only.
  • WCDMA/GSM (auto connect).
  • WCDMA only.

For using 2G internet on my mobile device, I have to select either GSM only or WCDMA/GSM (auto connect) as my network mode. And for using 3G internet,  I have to select either WCDMA/GSM (auto connect) or WCDMA only as my device’s network mode.

For me WCDMA only mode worked perfectly with the 3G network, as whenever I tried to select WCDMA/GSM (auto connect) mode, there were frequent disconnections and reconnection with the network. No matter what mobile OS you are using, you should try switching to some other mode, if you are unable to browse the internet using a particular network mode.

In Android 4.x based devices, you can access Network Mode by going to Settings >> More networks >> Mobile networks >> Network Mode. If you are using some other operating system, then you should try searching the web or refer its user manual.

Download and Upload Speed

2G Network

The maximum download speed I was able to get on AirTel’s 2G Network was 0.21 Mbps, while I was able to get 0.13 Mbps as my maximum upload speed. The download speed keeps on fluctuating between 0.18 Mbps to 0.3 Mbps.

airtel 2g speed

You will notice very high ping value (501 ms) in above screenshot because detected (based on allocated IP address by the network) my location somewhere in Southern India and selected the test server at Bangalore, Karnataka automatically! Feel free to check out following speed test video of the 2G network:

3G Network

The maximum download speed I was able to get on AirTel’s 3G Network was 2.4 Mbps, while I got 0.35 Mbps as my maximum upload speed.

airtel 3g speed test

I was expecting 1+ Mbps of upload speed from the network, but I never even crossed the 0.5 Mbps mark! Here are some screenshots of consecutive speed tests performed on the 3G network.

airtel 3g speed test

airtel 3g speed test

Check out following video to see a 3G speed test in action:

Important Notes:

  • Speed and strength of the 2G/3G network also depends on the type of adapter you are using. If you are using a cheap mobile device, then you may get very slow download speed.
  • During peak hours (when lots of people are using the network at the same time for calling, texting, browsing etc.) you may get very slow download speed.
  • If you’re travelling in a very fast car or a train, then you may experience frequent disconnections.
  • Other service providers like Vodafone etc. may provide you with better download/upload speed, but I have personally found the network of AirTel far superior than others.
  • If you have any query then you should contact AirTel customer care, not us.