Airtel to Counter Reliance Jio with VoLTE launch, Awards PAN-India Contract to Nokia

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    Bharti Airtel is ready to counter Reliance Jio with a big bang VoLTE launch. India’s leading telecom operator has awarded a 60 million dollars (approx 402 crores) to Nokia to implement VoLTE technology. If the sources are to be believed, this voice-over-LTE will be launched within this year though there is no launch timeline for the same.

    The Economic Times has highlighted the contract details between Sunil Mittal-led telecom giant and Helsinki-headquartered Nokia Networks technology and expertise to supply and implement Voice over LTE (VoLTE) solution. Earlier, Airtel considered this technology and piloted it in a few areas. With promising results, Bharti Airtel is now looking at a big bang launch on a PAN-India basis by striking a deal with Nokia for a smooth transition to VoLTE.

    Nokia Networks is known for its rich expertise in implementing and integrating IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), Open TAS (Telecommunications Application Server), Home Subscriber Server (HSS) and Border gateway (Open BGW) will enable VoLTE services.

    VoLTE Revolutionizing Communication:

    VoLTE which allows high-definition (HD) voice calls have many advantages for both operators and customers. With VoLTE, the consumers can look forward to richer communication services, improved smartphone battery life, faster call setup times, no dropped calls and higher quality HD voice calls than regular voice applications.

    By providing VoLTE, the telecom service provider can enhance indoor coverage using Wi-Fi and extend its communication services. The operator can offer both voice and data without switching between bands. Airtel currently offers calling on the legacy circuit-switch technology. The new technology enables spectral efficiency including improved performance under load. Moreover, the overall data consumption and signaling load are lower compared to over-the-top voice applications.

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    The Airtel Advantage:

    As per the industry experts, Airtel will have a clear advantage if the company launches VoLTE services anytime soon. As Reliance Jio is still in nascent stage, yet to publicize the benefits of VoLTE technology, Airtel can use this opportunity. If Bharti Airtel can deploy VoLTE technology soon and make it as a complimentary service to its existing voice applications, the Airtel subscribers will be on cloud nine.

    Telecom Industry Heads into Fierce VoLTE Race:

    No doubt, Reliance Jio has given the necessary push to smartphone makers to incorporate VoLTE feature in their handsets. As per the recent report by Cybermedia Research, more than 14 million VoLTE-enabled handsets are estimated to have been shipped into India in the September quarter. This is roughly twice the number in the previous quarter.

    Interestingly, India’s second and third largest telecom service providers (Vodafone India and Idea Cellular) could also join the VoLTE race anytime. Vodafone is already piloting VoLTE in select areas using Nokia’s IMS solution. On the other hand, Idea Cellular is in talks with Stockholm-headquartered networking and telecommunications equipment and services company Ericsson. Their 4G spectrum holdings in the recently concluded auctions highlight the same.

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