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Vodafone to launch 4G services by end of 2015


Telecom operator Vodafone India will 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.

Vodafone mentions that it will use the additional spectrum acquired in the February 2014 auctions to launch its 4G (LTE) services in 5 circles including Mumbai, Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka and Kolkata. Interestingly, the company mentions that these circles together contribute close to 50% of the total data revenues for Vodafone India. Note that during the 2014 auction, the operator had acquired spectrum in 1800 MHz band in 11 circles including Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Kolkata, Mumbai, Punjab, Rajasthan, UP (East). The operator won additional 1800 MHz spectrum in this year’s auctions held in March.

Videocon 4G launch: Earlier this 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.

Other 4G launches:

– Interestingly, competitor Airtel, which launched commercial operations for 4G services in 296 towns and cities earlier this 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. Samsung also offers Airtel 4G data benefits on select 4G devices.

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– 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 mentions that prices of equipment and smartphones that support the technology have 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.

Vodafone India numbers: Vodafone India reported 22.1 million 3G Internet connections for the quarter ended June 30, 2015. In comparison, the telecom operator had 10 million connections in the same period last year, and 19.4 million subscribers in the preceding quarter. This takes up Vodafone India’s total data connections up to 66.8 million, up 4.38% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) from 64 million.

Globally, Vodafone claims to have launched 4G in 18 countries, for which it claims to have over 20 million connections.

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