India's third largest telecom operator Idea Cellular has said that it will launch its voice over LTE (VoLTE) services on its 4G LTE network by early calendar year 2018.
Currently, Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio is offering the VoLTE or Voice over LTE networks in the country and that was the main reason why Jio is providing free calls to its customers.
Meanwhile, Bharti Airtel is also planning to launch its services planning to roll out its VoLTE service by end of the current financial year (FY 18).
The idea also said that it would deploy a 4G network using 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz spectrum band in five of its leading markets during the current financial year. It added that the deployment of 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz spectrum band would further boost Idea's 4G capacity in these key markets.
The company further said that During last two years it has aggressively expanded its wireless broadband infrastructure by 3.5 times adding 83,765 sites (3G+4G), expanding the network to 117,386 broadband sites (3G+4G). Idea's wireless broadband network (3G+4G) now covers 524 million Indians across all 22 service areas in 106,000 towns and villages and now covered 30.2 percent population in 20 service areas, reaching out to 353 million Indians.
The planned deployment of 2300 MHz or 2500 MHz spectrum band in 5 of its leadership markets during the current financial year will further boost Idea's 4G capacity in these key markets. Additionally, the company also remains on course to introduce VoLTE - Voice services on 4G LTE network by early Calendar Year 2018.
In order to support the burgeoning demand for mobile broadband services, Idea also increased its Fibre network by nearly 53,000 km (95,100 km in Q1FY16 to 148,100 km in Q1FY18). The company's Gross Investment in Fixed Assets has now risen to over Rs 1,195 billion, a net addition of Rs 545 billion over the last 24 months.
The CapEx spend for the quarter was Rs. 11.7 billion, mainly funded from Cash Profit of Rs. 9,608 million. The CapEx guidance for FY18 stands at Rs. 60 billion.
On merger with Vodafone India, the company said that "The merger transaction is subject to approval by the relevant regulatory authorities & Idea's shareholders. The company has recently received approval for the proposed combination from the 'Competition Commission of India', one out of the four main approvals required for a combination of Vodafone India (mobile business) and Idea Cellular Ltd. The Scheme of Arrangement has already been filed with SEBI & Stock Exchanges and is waiting for their approvals."