With an aim to counter Reliance Jio, one of India's popular Telecom operators Idea Cellular is now planning the deployment of 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz spectrum band in five of its leading markets during the current financial year.
This move from the company comes as it sees thes 4G network fast emerging as the preferred platform for mobile data consumption amongst Indian subscribers.
In particular, Idea has said, "The total Mobile data users on Idea network declined from 42.2 million (Q4FY17) to 38.1 million (Q1FY18), 4G subscribers more than doubled from 3.1 million (Q4FY17) to 6.5 million (Q1FY18). Further, the data usage on 4G platform exploded to 67.6 billion MB in Q1FY18 (from 18.7 billion MB in Q4FY17), sequential quarterly growth 262 percent."
"Despite such accelerated growth in 4G data volume, Idea's 4G network utilization (excluding still to be deployed 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz capacity spectrum) remains below 30 percent. The planned deployment of 2300 MHz or 2500 MHz spectrum band in five of our leadership markets during the current financial year will further boost Idea's 4G capacity in these key markets," the company said in a press statement.
Moreover, during the last two years (Q1FY16 to Q1FY18), Idea has aggressively expanded its wireless broadband infrastructure by 3.5 times adding 83,765 sites (3G+4G), expanding the network to 17,386 broadband sites (3G+4G). Today, Idea's wireless broadband network (3G+4G) covers 524 million Indians across all 22 service areas in 106,000 towns and villages. Similarly, with the addition of 46,576 4G sites in the same period, the company has rapidly expanded its 4G-LTE presence to 47,000 towns and villages and now covers 30.2 percent population (353 million Indians) in 20 service areas.
While the company seems to be gearing up for a larger spectrum allocation, Idea is also planning to launch a new feature phone at the price of Rs. 2,500. This move might also be targeted to counter Relaince Jio in the mobile domain. Besides, we all know that all the telecom companies are under stress and making losses due to Mukesh Ambani's Jio initiative. But it seems other Telecom operators are still investing to counter later strategies.