Vodafone India on Friday said it will launch its fourth-generation (4G) mobile telephony services by 2015-end, an announcement that comes days after market leader Airtel rolled out its own.
The rollout will match the upcoming 4G commercial launch by Reliance Jio.
“Important data markets, including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Kochi, will be part of the first wave of the rollout,” the company said in a statement here.
In addition, Vodafone India will introduce its own 3G networks in 7 circles — Assam, the North-East, Uttar Pradesh-West, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala and Odisha, to expand its overall 3G footprint to 16 circles across the country.
“Testing of 4G services has commenced successfully. Vodafone India has partnered with leading global technology infrastructure service providers for the network rollout,” the statement said.
Pan-India 4G services will be launched at “an appropriate time”, it said.
Bharti Airtel on August 6 announced launch of its 4G mobile phone services to cover nearly 300 towns in coming weeks. The launch came ahead of Reliance Jio, the telecom arm of the cash-rich conglomerate Reliance Industries, starting 4G voice and data services in December.
“With some of the latest technological developments on the anvil, Vodafone is building a robust and resilient network architecture with a strong backhaul to support the volumes and need for speed from customers,” the Vodafone statement said.
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 18 countries. There are over 20 million 4G customers across the group and its 4G propositions are enhanced with a mixture of music, sports and TV content to increase adoption and usage.
In preparation for the India rollout, Vodafone India had in 2014-15 set up a record number of over 23,000 tower sites, taking its overall network footprint to more than 1,31,000 sites.
“Over the last few months, Vodafone India has taken several steps to modernise its radio network and switching systems. Charging platforms have also been upgraded to facilitate a wider bouquet of products and services,” it said.
Major investments have been made in high-capacity fibre/backhaul to significantly increase the Internet connectivity to the rest of the world.
“Vodafone India remains committed towards making significant investments in network expansion and for enhancing overall customer experience,” the statement said.