With its larger rivals either launching or lining up 4G offerings, the country's third-largest telecom player Idea Cellular said it is "well-placed to compete" in the segment. "Idea is well-placed to compete in the 4G space," MD Himanshu Kapania said at an investor conference organised by domestic brokerage Motilal Oswal Financial Services.
The comments came against the backdrop of Bharti Airtel recently launching its 4G service in select circles. The 4G network is considered superior for data services, which as a segment is proving to be a money spinner for telecom players. The Aditya Birla Group company is "competitively placed" to tap this opportunity presented by the data boom.
Idea Cellular has bagged 4G licences in 11 circles, including Maharashtra and Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Mumbai, Andhra, Karnataka, Kerala, the North-East, Gujarat and Haryana. "Idea has transitioned from pure voice to voice and data and is transitioning to become a significant player in the Internet space," Kapania was quoted as saying.
The second-largest telecom operator Vodafone has already announced its plan to launch 4G by the year-end in markets such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Kochi. Reliance Jio too is expected to go for a national launch by December. Kapania also said the company is upgrading up to 80 per cent of its 2G sites to handle 3G services as well.
At present, 3G services cover 275 million people and may potentially expand to 750 million in a few years, with the expansion in 3G and launch of 4G services, he added. Led by mobile services, the telephone user base in the country crossed the 100-crore mark in July.