Bharti Airtel continued to expand its lead over Vodafone and Idea in terms of supporting 4G voice services by launching VoLTE or Voice over LTE services in Karnataka.
The prices for VoLTE calls will remain identical to those of traditional calls.
However, customers who use VoLTE-enabled handsets will be able to enjoy higher quality audio as well as quicker connection after dialing the number.
VoLTE uses internet technology to carry voice, unlike GSM and 3G, which depend on an older technology called TDM.
Airtel’s 4G network in Karnataka is among India’s oldest, and was started about five years ago in Bangalore.
The introduction of VoLTE is crucial for companies like Airtel and Vodafone in their quest to reduce operating costs.
Once a large portion of voice calls have been moved to 4G, these operators can redeploy much of their 2G and 3G spectrum for increasing the capacity of their 4G networks.
An operator can carry several times more quantity of voice calls using the same quantity of spectrum compared to earlier technologies like 2G and 3G.
Besides, the running costs of an 4G-only network is a fraction of that of a combined 2G+3G+4G network.
Airtel has to reduce its running costs drastically to remain competitive in a market that has seen widespread disruption due to the entry of Reliance Jio, which runs a 4G-only network and therefore offers voice ‘free’ and data at around Rs 6 per GB.
“We are delighted to roll out VoLTE services in Karnataka,” said C. Surendran, Chief Executive Officer -Karnataka for Bharti Airtel.
“It complements our efforts in delivering the fastest mobile broadband services in the state. Our customers will enjoy the flexibility of making calls and using ultra high speed 4G mobile data services at the same time.”