Idea umbrella

Telecom operator Idea has launched (pdf) its 4G services in 5 south Indian states; Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana and Tamil Nadu. The initial launch will cover 75 towns including Mysore, Kochi, Vijayawada and Vishakhapatnam, followed by other towns like Belgaum, Calicut, Guntur and Trichur by the 31st of December.

Metro cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mangalore and Chennai will have to wait a while, as 4G services will be launched there by March 2016. Idea also plans to launch in Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra & Goa, North East, Punjab, Haryana and Orissa, in a phased manner by March. By June next year, it expects to cover 750 cities and 10 telecom circles.

The 4G services will be launched on the 1800 Mhz band, spectrum that Idea had acquired in 11 circles including Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mumbai, North East and Punjab. The operator had won additional 1800 MHz spectrum in this year’s auctions held in March.

Videocon’s spectrum: Interestingly, last month Idea Cellular entered into an agreement to use spectrum currently with Videocon Telecom in the 1800 MHz band in two key circles, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh (West), for Rs 3310 crore. The company mentions that it will use this spectrum once the deal is complete, extending its reach to 12 telecom circles.

4G features: To use the new services, customers will have to upgrade their existing SIM cards to new 4G SIM cards. The company is currently offering a complimentary 4G SIM card upgrade at its retail outlets, and offering double data benefits on packs above 1GB for upgrading before the end of March. It will also offer music in tie up with Hungama for Rs 99 a month, movies and short videos from Eros for Rs 49 a month and an ‘Idea Games Club’ feature for Rs 150 per month.

Developments in 4G deployment:

– Earlier this month Vodafone launched its 4G services starting with Kochi, Kerala. The 4G services were launched on the 1800 Mhz band, spectrum that Vodafone had acquired in 11 circles in this year’s auctions held in March.

– In October, Tikona Digital said it would start providing 4G broadband services in the first half of 2016 across 30 cities in five telecom circles.

– In August, Videocon said it would launch its 4G services in MP, Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab by the end of this year.

– Airtel, which launched commercial operations for 4G services in 296 towns and cities in August, is currently offering 4G data packs starting from Rs 25.

– 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.