aircel

Telecom operator Aircel is planning to launch mass market 4G LTE services by December this year, reports ET. The operator has 20 MHz spectrum in 2300 MHz (4G) band in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam and parts of the North East and Jammu & Kashmir. It launched commercial 4G services in 6 of its 8 enterprise circles, where it said it had a large customer base.

Aircel became the second operator after Airtel to launch 4G services in the country in July last year, after it offered the services in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Odisha. Aircel had secured 4G spectrum in eight circles, during the BWA auctions in June 2010. After postponing its 4G rollout to 2014 from 2013, Aircel had appointed ZTE Corporation for pan-India deployment of its 4G LTE network in January last year.

In February this year, Aircel and Tata Teleservices were disqualified from bidding for new spectrum as they showed negative net worth of Rs 6,668.61 crore and Rs 7,192.60 crore respectively. Aircel was disqualified in bidding in bands where it did not have spectrum. The auction rules stated that an operator bidding for new waves or service area should have a minimum net worth of Rs 100 crore, which both Tata Teleservices and Aircel did not have.

Competition:

– Last month, we reported that Vodafone India would launch its 4G services by the end of this year, starting with Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Delhi and Kochi in the first part of the rollout. Other than this, the company will roll out its 3G networks in 7 circles: in the Northeast, Assam, UP West, Kerala, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Odisha.

– In the same month, Videocon said it would launch its 4G services in MP, Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab by then end of this year. CEO Arvind Bali said then that the company would invest Rs 550 crore by end of this fiscal to roll out the 4G services in the identified circles. Note that in February, Videocon had said that it would be rolling out 4G services in in Uttar Pradesh East, Uttar Pradesh West and Bihar telecom circles, though no specific date had been revealed.

– Interestingly, competitor Airtel, which launched commercial operations for 4G services in 296 towns and cities last month, is currently offering 4G data packs starting from Rs 25. The company also tied up with Flipkart to offer handsets with Airtel 4G SIMs, and with Samsung to facilitate SIM swaps.

– Reliance Jio Infocomm claims that it is now present in all 29 states in India and has a direct physical presence in nearly 18,000 cities and towns. Reliance Jio will also be rolling out its complete commercial operations by December this year.

– Idea also advanced its 4G launch plans by one year to 2016, as it mentioned that prices of equipment and smartphones that support the technology had dropped. Idea had acquired 55Mhz of contiguous 5Mhz 1800 Mhz spectrum areas in 10 service areas in 2014 and 2015 for the launch of 4G services on LTE platform. The 10 circles where Idea will be launching 4G services are: Kerala, Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and North East.

Image Credit: Flickr user Prithviraj Sukumaran