Indian Telecom: Are they on right track- This is where VoLTE be placed?
Airtel, Vodafone & Idea to soon launch VoLTE to protect low-end subscriber base
Launching such services could become critical to protect incumbents’ low-end subscriber base who could move out to Reliance Jio which is running an all-VoLTE network and offers voice for free.
An Airtel spokesperson said that the telco is piloting VoLTE in a few places, but didn’t comment on launch timelines. Vodafone and Idea didn't comment on ET queries, but Idea managing director Himanshu Kapania recently said that the No. 3 telco would introduce VoLTE over the next two quarters. “We are initially planning to be able to build VoLTE for about 20-25 million customers, which is sufficient enough to be able to take care of our 4G expectations in volume in India.”
Having finished testing, Idea Cellular expects to launch its VoLTE services by the second quarter (July-September) of this fiscal and cover 20-25 million customers. Rohan Dhamija, partner and head for India and South Asia at Analysys Mason, said that VoLTE device proliferation outside of Jio’s base is probably not at a critical mass, a reason why Airtel and other incumbents haven’t launched VoLTE service yet. “In fact, given that VoLTE has a lower cost per minute than traditional voice, in a scenario where the industry is under tremendous pricing pressure, in due course the importance of VoLTE could increase,” Dhamija said, adding that telcos should continue with VoLTE testing and be ready to launch commercially once device proliferation reaches critical mass.Launching such services could become critical to protect incumbents’ low-end subscriber base who could move out to Reliance Jio which is running an all-VoLTE network and offers voice for free. Analysts add that in a scenario where the industry is under tremendous pricing pressure, VoLTE is set gain in importance as it can be delivered at a lower cost per minute than traditional voice.
“Airtel’s VoLTE plans are on track having kicked off field or commercial trials in Mumbai and Delhi, and it will soon launch the service commercially in India,” a person familiar with the matter told ET. Another person said that Vodafone did basic trials of the technology, and will launch VoLTE services soon.
VoLTE allows an operator to offer both voice and data with voice being just another application that rides on an LTE data network, a technology that newcomer Jio has adopted. Incumbents currently offers calling on the legacy circuit-switch technology.detail News click HERE.