Idea Cellular has already opened its Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services for employees in select circles back at the start of March 2018. However, the company has been silent on when it's going to open the VoLTE services to the public. In the recent earnings report, Idea revealed that it's going to introduce VoLTE services in a phased for its customers from May 2018. This falls in-line with what we have reported earlier, and today, we managed to grab some more information related to Idea VoLTE. During the first phase of launch, Idea Cellular will open the VoLTE services to customers in Maharashtra (Excluding Mumbai), Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala. That said, all the cities in the above-mentioned circles will not get the service in the first phase.
As Idea confirmed in its earnings report, the Idea VoLTE rollout will happen in a phased manner, same as how Airtel and Vodafone are rolling out. Speaking about the Idea VoLTE supported list, Honor devices such as Honor 6X, Honor 7X, Honor 8 Pro, Honor 9 Lite, Honor 9i, Honor View 10; OnePlus devices such as the OnePlus 5 and 5T; Nokia devices such as the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 & Nokia 6 (2017) will support Idea VoLTE post the launch. By the end of Q2 2018, smartphones from brands such as Apple, Xiaomi, Motorola, Vivo, Oppo, Lenovo and Samsung will gain the Idea VoLTE support. Meanwhile, the telco is working closely with smartphone brands to add the support. Already, several Honor smartphones have picked the Idea VoLTE support.
As we mentioned in our previous article, Idea VoLTE service will go live in 18 cities: Nasik, Pune, Nagpur, Goa(Panjim), Aurangabad, Kolapur, Vasai, Virar, Ulhasnagar, Bhivandi, Ahmednagar, Solapur, Akola, Nanded, Surat, Rajkot, Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. But the list would be a bigger one when it goes live to the public with cities from Andhra Pradesh and Kerala being added.
We have managed to grab an image of the Idea VoLTE service as you can see above. Idea Cellular will be calling the service as 'Idea VoLTE' only. Also, the telco will launch Idea VoLTE service only in its 4G circles and not with ICR agreement.
In the earnings report, Idea Cellular stated that it continued the aggressive expansion of its wireless broadband infrastructure by adding a total of 44,856 broadband sites (3G+4G) during the FY18. As a result, Idea's broadband sites increased from 110,054 to 154,910 during the year. Currently, Idea has a total of 286,356 sites (GSM+3G+4G) sites across the country.
It also stated Idea's wireless broadband population under coverage now expands beyond 650 million Indians spread across 164,000 towns and villages in 22 service areas. The telco also started deploying 2300 MHz TDD spectrum in its leadership circles of Maharashtra & Kerala and 2500 MHz TDD spectrum in Andhra Pradesh. Idea's fiber network expanded from 115,500 kms to 156,800 kms from March 31, 2016, to March 31, 2018.