The largest Indian mobile network operator, Bharti Airtel is reportedly launching the 4G VoLTE services as early as next week. Last year, RIL backed Jio 4G debuted the market with VoLTE technology. Now, Airtel becomes only the second carrier to roll out VoLTE based services. Unlike the Jio 4G, Airtel owns the spectrum in 900MHz to provide the 2G network. With the VoLTE roll out, the users with LTE network and VoLTE enabled devices can make or receive calls via VoLTE network. The users with LTE network or GSM handsets will still be able to make calls just like normal.
Compared to the calls made via the 2G/3G network, the VoLTE based calls will be in HD quality and also connects faster. Even while making calls through VoLTE network, the user can still access the internet. The earlier reports suggested the company has a partnered with Nokia to roll-out nationwide VoLTE services. Next week, the company will be debuting the VoLTE service by launching first in Mumbai. In the coming week, we expect the service to launch in other metro cities. Even Idea is said to offer VoLTE services by the end of this year.
While Jio 4G is offering free voice calls and SMS for its users, Airtel might also offer free voice calls made on VoLTE network. Jio 4G is offering prepaid pack with unlimited calls for as low as Rs 149. With the launch of VoLTE enabled feature phone dubbed JioPhone, Reliance is also adding the feature phone users to its subscriber’s list. Airtel also announced to soon bring its own 4G feature phone to the market. While the sales of the 4G VoLTE smartphones have skyrocketed in the last couple of years, the 3G smartphones are now seen as outdated.
The latest report from Counterpoint mentions one in every three phones sold in the last quarter ending June was a VoLTE smartphone. According to the report, there will be more than 200 million 4G VoLTE enabled feature phones sold in the next five years. Unlike other major markets, feature phones make up to a decent market share in India. This large user base makes the companies fight to offer the best value packs for their customers.