NEW DELHI : Bharti Airtel has shut down its 3G network in Haryana and its mobile broadband services will now be available to customers on the 4G network, the company said.

Haryana is the the second telecom circle after Kolkata to see the discontinuation of 3G services by Airtel.

“Customers who are yet to upgrade their 3G handsets/SIMs will continue to get access to voice services. Airtel will continue to provide 2G services in Haryana to serve the connectivity needs of customers on feature phones," the company said.

In August this year, the company had said that will shut down its 3G network across India’s 22 telecom circles by March 2020, and increase its focus on providing 4G services.

The company started the process in July, when it wound down the 3G network in the Kolkata circle. It, however, continues to provide 2G services for feature phone users.

“This has worked very well in Kolkata. Now we will do this process across India. By September, we will shut down six to seven circles and by March, the entire 3G network pan-India will shut down," Bharti Airtel chief executive Gopal Vittal said in the post-earnings call with analysts in August.

This marks the first phase-out of the 3G technology in India, which is now increasingly moving to 4G, triggered by the entry of 4G-only Reliance Jio in September 2016. Rival Vodafone Idea continues to provide 2G, 3G and 4G services.

In Kolkata, Airtel has already reformed the 900MHz spectrum band, used for 3G, to strengthen its 4G network. The telecom operator is deploying L900 technology in the 900MHz band to complement its 4G services in the 2300MHz and 1800MHz bands.

The move, Airtel expects, will improve 4G availability inside buildings and coverage across homes in Kolkata.

However, the company does not expect much cost savings by shutting down 3G as it would continue to use the same equipment to offer 4G services.

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