India’s leading telecom operator Bharti Airtel is scheduled to launch VoLTE services by next week, according to reports. It would make Airtel only the second telco in the country after Reliance Jio to offer LTE technology for voice calls. At present, all incumbent cellular operators offer voice services on the age-old circuit-switch technology, while data is provided on a 4G network. However, in the last one year, Jio has notched up 130 million subscribers riding on its LTE offerings. And now, its more established rivals are following suit. Also Read - Jio Freedom Plans 2021: Jio launches 5 new prepaid plans with no daily data limit - check detailsAlso Read - How to recharge your Jio number via WhatsApp
Airtel’s VoLTE services are expected to roll out in Mumbai, followed by Kolkata and other Indian metros. (In 2012, Kolkata was the first to get a taste of Airtel’s mobile 4G services.) The company is said to have conducted trials with about 15 models of devices, and will issue software patches to make them compatible with VoLTE calls. “They will expand to more cities and cover the entire country well before this financial year end,” an official was quoted as saying. Meanwhile, Idea Cellular too is reportedly working on its VoLTE launch later this year. ALSO READ: Airtel rubbishes Reliance Jio s claims on IUC in new letter to TRAI: Report Also Read - 5G JioPhone launch could be around Diwali this year, price to be around Rs 3,500
Calls made over VoLTE are more clear compared to those made using either 2G or 3G technology. Ever since its launch last September, Jio has lured users with free and unlimited VoLTE calling, that will continue till March 2018. It is singularly responsible for the explosion in the sales of VoLTE-enabled smartphones in the country. One in every three phones sold in the June quarter in India was a VoLTE device, according to Counterpoint Research. “LTE capable smartphones contributed to 96 percent of smartphone shipments in India in Q2 2017,” the report stated. ALSO READ: Idea Cellular to launch 4G VoLTE services by early 2018: Report
And now, with the recently announced Reliance JioPhone, VoLTE capabilities will reach feature phones too, at an attractive price point of Rs 1,500. No wonder then that India’s VoLTE subscriber base is estimated to reach 370 million by 2022, according to Ericsson’s Global Mobility Report 2017. High-quality video-and-voice calling will become a norm by then. “VoLTE represents a great opportunity for telecom operators in India who are looking to route voice calls over 4G LTE networks enabling lower cost per minute for voice calls as well as free up legacy spectrum bands for re-farming, Nitin Bansal, Head of Network Products, Ericsson India, stated in the report.