Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Vodafone India completes first phase of 4G launches

Vodafone India completes the first phase of planned launches of 4G with a commercial roll-out in Mumbai, its fifth planned circle

New Delhi: Vodafone India Ltd, India’s second largest telco, completes the first phase of planned launches of 4G on Wednesday with a commercial roll-out in Mumbai, its fifth planned circle.

The launch comes a week after the telco rolled out high speed data services in the Delhi NCR circle on 3 February, and a day before the telco will launch the services in Bengaluru. The telco started selling 4G SIMs in Mumbai on 6 January and on 1 February in Bengaluru. Vodafone was the third major telco to start 4G services in the country with its roll-out in Kozhikode on 6 January.

In December, the company said that it will roll out in the five circles of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Karnataka and Kerala by February. These circles cover more than 50% of the telco’s data revenues. The telco will continue to expand its services in these circles.

The company will continue to focus on its 3G offerings in the remaining 16 circles and wait for the 4G market to evolve and acquire more spectrum, before rolling out the services using the FDD-LTE (Frequency Duplex Division-Long Term Evolution) on its 1800Mhz spectrum. In all the circles where the telco has rolled out the services, it has at least 8Mhz of 1800Mhz spectrum. The telco also has enough spectrum in the Punjab and Tamil Nadu circles, but has opted not to start the services as yet.

India is the 20th country where Vodafone, the world’s second largest telco, has started 4G services. Vodafone’s Indian customers will also get International 4G roaming when visiting the UK, Romania, Spain and Netherlands. More countries will get added in time.

Meanwhile, Idea cellular rolled out its 4G technology-based services in eight circles, the last being Orissa, on 4 February. Idea will launch the service in Maharashtra and northeast India by March, completing the targeted 10 circles in the current fiscal. The telco also plans to roll out the services in Gujarat and Western Uttar Pradesh, once the deal with Videocon to buy the necessary spectrum in those circles is concluded. Idea has launched the services in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab.

Bharti Airtel Ltd, India’s largest telco, has rolled out 4G services in 15 circles so far.

All three telcos have been steadily rolling out 4G services in anticipation of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd services across all 22 circles in the first quarter of the next fiscal year.

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