The largest network integration exercise is currently being undertaken by the third-biggest telecom operator of the country, Vodafone Idea Limited. The telecom operator has been on the task of integrating its network since the merger happened in 2018. However, until now, Vodafone Idea has been unable to accomplish the full network integration. As per the previously charted out deadline by Vodafone Idea, the network integration was supposed to be finished by the end of the current quarter, or the last quarter of FY20. But, it seems that the network integration deadline will now be extended by another quarter, the company said in its results for Q3 FY20. As per the new estimate, the network integration will be finished by the Q1 of FY21 instead of the end of March 2020.
Vodafone Idea Finished 86% Network Integration
In an official statement, Vodafone Idea remarked, "Integration is progressing well and is expected to complete by Q1FY21. In the remaining five circles, integration continues to move at a rapid pace based on a cluster-by-cluster approach, with subscribers of both brands benefitting from the integrated network, which has significantly greater coverage and capacity.”
In January 2020, Vodafone Idea informed that it had finished network integration in Uttar Pradesh (E), Gujarat and Delhi taking the total of states to be integrated in the network to 17.
By the end of 2019, Vodafone Idea reported that it had achieved a 86% network integration out of all the districts. After the network integration, Vodafone Idea also reported improved network capacity and coverage. The deployment of the new network like TDD sites, Massive MIMO and LTE 900 technology on certain sites has resulted in better data capacity. The data capacity has also doubled as per VIL, as compared to September 2018.
Massive MIMO and Other Technologies Used to Increase Capacity
VIL said, "This has driven a significant improvement in data speeds and customer experience across all circles.” Out of the 73,000 co-located sites, Vodafone Idea has removed redundant equipment from 58,000 sites, thus reducing the cost by December 2019. The telecom operator has also deployed approximately 58,200 TDD sites apart from the 11,400 Massive MIMO until now. Vodafone Idea is also diverting its assets to increase its capacity and coverage heavily. In the previous quarter, it added 14,600 4G FDD sites which is its largest addition in a single quarter. The 4G population coverage of Vodafone Idea currently stands at 974 million.