4G cover spreads as Vodafone, Idea Cellular expand services

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New Delhi: Vodafone India Ltd, the country’s second largest telecom service provider, launched its fourth generation (4G) service in the National Capital Region (NCR) on Wednesday, becoming the second telco to offer it after Bharti Airtel Ltd.

The high-speed wireless data service has been launched in Gurgaon and will cover the rest of Delhi-NCR in the next 2-3 months. The Delhi-NCR circle is the fourth mobile service area where Vodafone is offering 4G services, after Kerala, Kolkata and Karnataka (Mysore).

The four circles make up for 30% of the industry revenue and 50% of Vodafone’s data revenue, said Naveen Chopra, chief operating officer of Vodafone India.

“Around 10% of data users are in Gurgaon. This number goes higher if you count the number of people who come into and leave the city everyday,” he added.

Vodafone is using the FDD-LTE (Frequency duplex division-Long Term Evolution) standard of 4G technology, using its 1800Mhz spectrum.

Users adopting the service will get access to an array of content and services, including music and movie streaming and downloads from providers like HOOQ and Hungama.

India is the 20th country where Vodafone, the world’s second-largest communications services provider, has rolled out 4G services. This has also enabled the telcos to offer international roaming on 4G, to customers visiting the UK, Romania, Spain and the Netherlands. More countries are expected to be added to the list in the coming months.

Vodafone has around 10 million customers in Delhi-NCR circle. Data contributes around 25% of the total revenue for the telcos, Apoorva Mehrotra, Vodafone’s business head for the Delhi-NCR circle, said.

The company will launch its services in Bengaluru on Monday.

The launch comes a day after Idea Cellular Ltd, India’s third largest telco, rolled out 4G services in Orissa—the telco’s eighth circle to get the service. The 12 major towns, covered by Idea’s 4G services in Orissa in the initial phase, include Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Baleswar, Jharsuguda, Jatni and Khurda.

“A further 18 major towns, including Sambalpur, Brahmapur, Rourkela, Bhadrak, Rajagangpur, Sundargarh will follow by 31 March,” a statement from Idea said on Wednesday.

Idea will launch the service in Maharashtra and northeast India by March. The telco also plans to roll out the services in Gujarat and Western Uttar Pradesh, once the deal with Videocon to buy the necessary spectrum in those circles is concluded. Idea has launched the services in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab.

Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telco, has launched its 4G services in 15 circles so far.

Vodafone is one of the three telcos that have rolled out 4G networks, in the country, in anticipation of Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd’s launch expected in March-April this year.

Huawei is the equipment vendor for Vodafone in the Delhi circle, where the telco has 26% revenue market share.