Idea Cellular is the only top telecom operator yet to launch Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services based on 4G network to the consumers. While the company stated that it would be launching VoLTE services to its users in Q2 2018, there’s no official word on the same. Right now, the telco has opened the VoLTE services to its employees in various cities, but as per the information we received, Idea Cellular subscribers in Maharashtra and Gujarat will be able to see the VoLTE service on a compatible smartphone very soon. The service will be first rolled out in 18 cities including Nasik, Pune, Nagpur, Goa(Panjim), Aurangabad, Kolapur, Vasai, Virar, Ulhasnagar, Bhivandi, Ahmednagar, Solapur, Akola, Nanded, Surat, Rajkot, Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. Idea will be expanding the service to other circles and cities in a phased manner going forward.
The biggest challenge for Idea Cellular will be the compatible device list. Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India launched 4G services several months ago, but still, the supported device list is very smaller. Airtel’s list of VoLTE compatible smartphones has more than 100 devices, while Vodafone has over 50 devices. And yes, speaking about Reliance Jio, whatever the smartphone releases onto the market, it has support for Jio VoLTE. However, Idea Cellular has to follow the same mechanism as Airtel and Vodafone of adding service manually to a smartphone, which will be a cumbersome process.
As per the information we have at the moment, when the Idea VoLTE service goes official in the above-mentioned cities, the supported device list will include the following brands: Apple, Xiaomi, OnePlus, Motorola, Vivo, Lenovo and Huawei. However, we’re not sure about the devices though. It’s a surprise to see Motorola on the list because the brand is yet to release an OTA update for its smartphones with support for Airtel VoLTE and Vodafone VoLTE. In the case of OnePlus, the upcoming OnePlus 6 will support Idea VoLTE service out of the box.
Furthermore, Idea is calling its VoLTE service as ‘Idea VoLTE‘, and there’s nothing fancy name attached to it. Vodafone has named its VoLTE service as ‘Super VoLTE,’ but Idea is going with a more conventional name for its service.
Furthermore, we have learnt that Idea Cellular will be offering 4G services on its network only and not on Intra-circle Roaming agreement (ICR). The telco is currently offering 4G services in 20 circles, and all the 20 circles will get Idea VoLTE service in a phased manner.
As of now, Idea VoLTE support has been rolled out to various Honor devices such as Honor 6X, Honor 9i and so on. We might hear an official confirmation from the company very soon, which we’re not sure on when it’s going to happen.
Once the service rolls out to the public, the service will be auto-activated for all eligible Idea subscribers on a compatible handset.