Reports are emerging that India’s largest telecom provider, Bharti Airtel, may soon be looking to launch its own VoLTE services in the coming days. This is a long time due for one of the premier network providers in the region and has been a coming for a while now.
Whenever the service launches, it would make Airtel the second telecom provider after Reliance Jio to provide VoLTE services in India. The launch of Reliance Jio, a little under a year ago, has been a major challenge for India’s incumbent network providers, including Airtel. Jio was the first VoLTE compatible network in the country, which afforded them a technological edge over their rivals. This not only allows Jio to offer high-speed mobile internet, but it also allows them to offer data at rock bottom prices and free call services. This is possible as VoLTE allows voice packets to be sent over 4G mobile data itself.
Currently, Airtel has had to be reliant on old Circuit Switched Fall Back (CSFB) technology to enable voice calling on their 4G networks. This is done by transferring to GSM to receive and make voice calls on 4G networks. This has put Airtel in a disadvantageous position for a number of reasons:-
- Call Quality – Theoretically, better call quality can be achieved on VoLTE networks due to the use of ultra-fast 4G bandwidth.
- Lower Costs – VoLTE incurs much lower calling costs for the telecom providers. This could potentially allow Airtel to rival Jio with free voice calling of their own.
- Better Battery Life For Users – The switch to VoLTE should help increase battery life for Airtel customers, as it would eliminate the need to switch to 3G or 2G networks while making or receiving a call.
Airtel’s decision to switch to VoLTE is a significant one, one that has come not a minute too soon. Ever since its launch, Reliance Jio has been eating away at Airtel’s market share, reducing its lead at the top. Besides market share, Airtel’s revenue has also been suffering due to Jio’s aggressive pricing. So far, Jio has been held back to some degree by the stuttering quality of their networks, allowing Airtel to stay on top. However, new reports suggest that this is changing, and Jio’s network is now on the upturn. In such a scenario, Airtel’s entry into the VoLTE space essentially levels the playing field back again. This move will be highly beneficial for both Airtel and its customers and should help them hit back hard at Jio. With Vodafone and Idea, both are looking to launch VoLTE services of their own very soon; things are about to get interesting in the telecom space once again.