Bharti Airtel is trying to match the new entrant Reliance Jio is every aspect possible. Airtel, after competing with Jio in the tariff plans segment is now looking to take on the latter by rolling out VoLTE services in India. A few months ago, we reported that Airtel is currently working with various smartphone vendors to test the service, and the public launch is imminent.
Right now Airtel is offering the voice calls to its 4G subscribers through Circuit Switched Fall Back (CSFB) technology, which can transfer subscribers to the GSM platform to make and receive calls while at the same time retaining the experience of ultra-high speed 4G services. However, deployment of VoLTE will allow Airtel to offer far superior voice quality at lower tariff to their subscribers.
Various reports are claiming that Airtel has already deployed the required infrastructure for the service, but the company is still conducting service trials before the commercial roll out to the general public. That said, we all remember the voice calls issues faced by Reliance Jio users when the company launched 4G services back in September 2016.
In our report of Airtel testing the service with select handset brands, we also revealed that the service would be initially launched in major cities and will be later on expand the entire India.
"Currently, Airtel is testing the service in various Indian 4G handsets that are already available in the market, and it is also said that some smartphones have passed the test successfully. So, expect a roll out shortly." This is what we reported a few months back.
Further, the VoLTE deployment will also enable Airtel to fight competition from Over The Top (OTT) players like WhatsApp, Skype, Viber and Facebook Messenger. The messaging services are already offering voice calls at much lower cost. This has been denting the voice revenue of all the Indian telcos. VoLTE will enable Airtel to offer superior quality voice at lower tariff since the cost of deploying VoLTE is much lower than the regular or traditional network. Besides, it will also free up the spectrum for more profitable services. It will help them to offer new services to their subscribers.
Also, in a recent software update, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 received the Airtel VoLTE support, meaning that the phone will support Airtel VoLTE right after the launch. This also means that Xiaomi is likely to be one of the VoLTE testing smartphone vendors for Airtel, as per our report.
The exciting news, however, is Airtel's event on July 10 (Monday). Yes, Bharti Airtel scheduled an event on July 10, where the company might announce the launch of VoLTE service in India. Do make a note that this is just our speculation; the service may not be launched at the event as well. So, take this news with a grain of salt.