New Delhi: Vodafone India today entered the 4G services arena, starting with Kochi, as it looks to take on market leader Bharti Airtel and the upcoming launch by Reliance Jio Infocomm. The country’s second largest mobile operator will shortly launch the services in Trivandrum and Calicut. While, it plans to launch 4G in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata by March next year.
Testing of 4G services in these locations has already commenced and Vodafone has partnered with leading global technology service providers for the network roll-out. The company has invested Rs 700 crore in Kerala towards network expansion for 3G and 4G in the last 18 months.
“Vodafone’s global expertise and experience of launching 4G across 19 countries gives us a better understanding of this technology and the needs of the 4G customer,” Vodafone India MD and CEO Sunil Sood said in a statement.
The company’s 4G service in Kochi will be available from December 14, which is built on a fibre backhaul, and is supported by its own new 3G services on a network of 2100 MHz.
Vodafone said it has become the first telecom operator in Kerala to offer 2G, 3G and 4G services on its own network. Bharti Airtel on August 6 had announced launch of its 4G mobile phone services and now covers over 350 towns. Reliance Jio, the telecom arm of the cash-rich conglomerate Reliance Industries is likely to start 4G voice and data services in December.
While, Idea Cellular is planning to launch 4G services in 750 towns across 10 circles by the first half of 2016. Asked about the capital expenditure plans for this year, Sood said it is likely to be on the lines of last year, when the company invested about Rs 8,500 crore.
Vodafone India had successfully acquired additional 4G (LTE) spectrum in 5 circles — Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Kerala and Karnataka in February 2014 auctions. These circles together contribute close to 50% of the total data revenues for Vodafone India.
Globally, Vodafone has launched 4G in 19 countries. Vodafone said its 4G-LTE services can be accessed from 4G enabled handsets offered by leading smartphone manufacturers available across the country.
The company is offering 4G at the rates of 3G and packs range from Rs 29 for 120MB data to 20GB for Rs 2499. Kerala is a significant growth market for Vodafone India with data revenue growing over 75 per cent annually.
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