With an aim to take on the booming competition in the Indian telecom industry, Bharti Airtel is planning to launch 4G VoLTE service across India by the end of March 2018. The company has already started testing the network in some of the cities and is planning to expand the same shortly.
Currently, Jio is the only telecom operator who provides this service for voice calls. Other operators also provide 4G services but are limited to data packs only. So, by launching this service, Airtel will become the second operator to provide 4G VoLTE service on voice calls.
The company is also looking forward to introducing a new 4G feature phone in the market. Last week, on the occasion of Reliance’s 40th annual general meeting, Mukesh Ambani launched a 4G feature phone in the market at a price tag of rupees zero. Since then, analysts were saying that the rival companies have to do something similar to compete with Jio. But, unlike Reliance Jio, Airtel will be working with the phone makers to launch the phone.
“We do not intend to get into subsidizing devices and running the inventory as if we own them. There is a difference between subsidizing and bundling. We have done that on the smartphone side for many years. We will continue to look at bundling”, said Vittal.
He also stated that with the continuous rise in the 4G demand and 2G being confined to feature phone users, the 3G network will suffer and might get wiped out completely from the market in the future.
Airtel’s net profit for the first quarter of 2017-18 has also declined by 75 percent and stood at Rs 367 crore from 1,462 crores which were reported last year during the same period.