Vodafone Idea announced on Thursday that it has deployed over 12,000 massive multiple-input multiple-output (ma-MIMO) sites across India to keep its users connected during the lockdown. According to the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the industry body representing operators like Vodafone Idea and Airtel, telecom operators had witnessed a surge in data usage since the COVID-19 lockdown. While COAI had initially backed down from its earlier push for additional spectrum, it had urged users to use data responsibly and appealed to streaming companies to default videos to standard definition. Vodafone Idea said that its massive deployment of MIMOs has led to third party reports showing enhanced speeds as compared to its rivals across places like Mumbai.
More MIMO Sites Than Peers
Vodafone Idea said that it has deployed over 1550 ma-MIMO sites in Mumbai and is ensuring connectivity despite steep surge in data demand during the period. The company said that a single cell of ma-MIMO carries 8.5 times the traffic as compared with the traffic through frequency division duplex (FDD) channel. Further, Vodafone Idea said that a single cell ma-MIMO carries 3.5 times the traffic on time division duplex (TDD) channel providing “better spectrum efficiency” for the operator.
“Our investment in ma-MIMO technology to set up a 4G+ network is helping us meet the growing data demand during this crisis,” Vishant Vora, CTO, Vodafone Idea Limited, said in the release.
The company said that its ma-MIMO deployments in Mumbai are the highest by any operator in the region. Vodafone Idea said that the COVID-19 lockdown has led to the residents of Mumbai being restricted to their homes and being dependent on internet connectivity for work, study and for staying informed.
“In Mumbai alone, we have seen a 30% surge in payload in these ma-MIMO in March ’20 compared to previous month, providing better customer experience even as the demand rises,” Vora said.
Vodafone Idea Has Set Up Virtual War Room
Additionally, the company said that it has set up a virtual war room for monitoring network operations in “this unprecedented situation.” The company said that its “key team members” are engaging through conference calls and video conferences. Further, Vodafone Idea said that its senior team members across several departments including operations are regularly on call with its team members to maintain uptime and operational continuity.
“A comprehensive pandemic response plan with requisite risk mitigation protocols has been activated while ensuring continuity of mission critical processes for keeping networks working as telecom is an essential service,” Vodafone Idea said in a release.