Airtel: Using Mobile to Launch 4G in India


Client: Airtel
Brand: Airtel 4G
Category: Telecommunications
Country: India
Year: 2016


Campaign Summary

In August 2015, Airtel became the first operator to launch 4G services in India. With it came the main task of upgrading India to a 4G country by targeting both Airtel customers and non-Airtel customers who access the Internet on their mobile devices, and get them to shift to Airtel’s 4G Network from their pre-existing 3G/2G connection.

But the real challenge was how to communicate the superiority of 4G in real-time and get the activations done digitally. There were three major barriers: the device compatibility issue, the process of identifying Airtel and non-Airtel customers, and accordingly providing customers a 4G enabled SIM and plan.


Objective and Context

Airtel decided to target mobile users when they were viewing videos, booking tickets online or on a heavy-content website, mainly “in the moment” when they are most likely to feel the need for speed. In that moment, Airtel showed users their actual Internet speed and that’s when the brand triggered the users to experience the better, faster and superior Internet option that is Airtel 4G.

The target audience for the campaign was all mobile users.


Creative Strategy

As was said up above, to trigger the user realization in real-time, banners were shown on mobile video platforms, payment-related websites, booking sites and other content platforms where the user required a high speed Internet connection.

By the time the users read the first frame of the banner, a speed test request was sent to Airtel’s servers, which in response pushed back the real Internet speed -- which was shown in a customized infographic in the second frame of the banner.

Upon clicking, the users landed on Airtel’s website, which was technically advanced and had a specially derived algorithm capable of giving three crucial details about the consumer’s status, and provided the relevant solution to them. The site could determine:

  • Whether the customer owned a 4G-compatible device or not. (If not, they were directed to buy an Airtel 4G enabled phone.)
  • What network provider the user had and help them make the switch from a non-Airtel network.
  • Whether the user was an Airtel customer, in which case Airtel offered a free upgrade to a 4G-ready SIM plan.

In other words, Airtel was able to target its customer base, using the exact proposition that would solve their individual issues while enabling them with 4G speeds. It took help from digital to identify the different challenges faced by a user in getting a 4G connection and provided a solution for them on the fly.

The entire 4G activation campaign was planned and executed on mobile, where the core audience was available. The entire market not only actively engaged with the campaign but Airtel got the majority of people shifted on to Airtel 4G.



The campaign results are as follows:

  • Airtel became the first telecom operator to launch its high-speed broadband services across 350-plus cities in India.
  • The campaign reached 5.6 million Internet users, 3.5 million people checked their 4G readiness and over 1.2 million users shifted to the Airtel 4G Network.
  • Airtel's 4G campaigns re-defined communication around high speed mobile data services, and the brand surged powerfully ahead, making the 4G activation the biggest digital campaign in the history of Indian telecom.


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