Airtel, Vodafone to start VoLTE battle against Reliance Jio

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone may soon start offering Voice over LTE or VoLTE services in the country to take on their bigger rival Reliance Jio, which will launch its services commercially and is banking big on VoLTE technology to offer voice services.

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Both the leading telecom operators have given contracts to Nokia for IP multimedia solution (IMS) for the implementation of VoLTE technology on their networks, the Economic Times reported.

The report said that Idea Cellular, which is the third largest telco by subscribers, is also in “active talks” with Nokia for a similar deal. Interestingly, Nokia has emerged as the only telecom gear provider to have provided IMS solution to 4G telecom operators in the country. Last year, it bagged an IMS contract worth $100 million from Reliance Jio.

The report said that the fast developing handset ecosystem in India is the main reason behind these new contracts. These telcos were earlier cautious about the deployment of the VoLTE technology in India. VoLTE technology enables a telco to provide both voice and data without switching between bands, with voice being just another application that rides on an LTE data network. VoLTE uses IP technology, similar to VoIP, but remains a core part of the network, enabling telcos to manage it easily.

Reliance Jio, which is the pan-India 4G player, is likely to start operations with around 25 smartphone models supporting its VoLTE services.

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