Airtel has launched it’s much awaited VoLte service in Mumbai, the other metro cities will be covered soon. Later this year, Airtel VoLte to expand to all major cities and towns.
Jio had been the market leader in introducing the VoLte calls to India. While Airtel has been struggling to provide free calls like Jio, because of it’s old circuit switched technology. Several costs like call setup charges and call temination charges are the factors which cause circuit switched calls to be costlier. While VoLte technlogy is new and eliminates these charges but requires much higher network investment. Jio had been clever in reaping away the benefits of the new Volte technology to provide free calls and expanding it’s subscriber base to more than 130 million in less than a year.
As we know that 4G is a data only network, unlike 2g or 3g which are circuit-switched network. The 2g and 3g networks can carry both data and calls while 4g networks can only transfer data. So, 4g networks need a protocol to send and recieve calls over VoIP (voice over internet protocol).
Although use of VoLte requires specific hardware and software for network providers as well as mobile subscribers, it reduces the overall call cost in the long run. Jio knew the potential of it and thus launched 4g with Volte without any backup of 2g or 3g networks required for CSFB (Circuit switched fallback) technology.
Way back in 2010, in the auction of 4g airwaves, the present telecom operators were speculative about the Volte and ignored the implementation of it. But Jio came into the market with storm and made calls free due to it’s investment in new technlogy, it got an upper hand over the incumbent operators. Now all the old operators have no choice but to invest into this new technlogy. Vodafone and Idea will soon launch their VoLte service.
Also, maintaining the service of 2g, 3g and 4g airwaves has become a burden for the incumbent operators as all of them have to be deployed on different bands and require spectrum renewal. While Jio has only 4g band to renew ,deploy and maintain.
After the VoLte launch by the incumbent operators, they don’t need the fallback circuit of 2g and 3g and thus they can lessen the burden of debts on maintaining the older technogy. Instead the already auctioned bands used for 3g/2g can be refarmed for 4g technology.
Airtel VoLte -Plans ahead..
Earlier, Airtel has announced it will launch its’s own low cost VoLte phone till diwali, which may cost Rs 2500 , in a reply to Jio phone which is very cheaply priced at Rs.1500 . Although Jio phone has been a huge hit with over 6 million bookings on the first day itself.
Airtel also plans to provide free calls just like Jio on its new VoLte technlogy. Vodafone ,Idea and BSNL will join the party maybe next year.
Without VoLte, it was troublesome to use LTE data , as whenever a call arrived, the network automatically switched to 2g/3g , to make calls. Also whenever there is low LTE coverage, the phone automatically switches to 2g/3g .
Although you could lock the network to 4g only, to use high speed data, but this meant you can’t make or recieve calls. But after the launch of Airtel VoLte service you can lock the network to 4g only mode and enjoy the LTE high speed data even when you are on calls. Pan India Airtel VoLte deployment will surely take some time, atleast one more year.
According to Airtel “Calls will be billed as per existing plan or pack benefits,”. It will take months for airtel to fully deploy Volte across the country. Airtel also has plans to shutdown the 3g technlogy and use the 2100Mhz band for 4g deployment. Expect the 2g network to remain for a while as most of the subscribers are still using 2g phones in small towns and villages.
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