Vi, formerly Vodafone Idea, is phasing out its 3G network in Delhi, and will require users who don’t have a compatible SIM to get a replacement at a Vi store, according to announcements to customers reported by Gadgets 360. This comes as the telco refarms spectrum that used to be dedicated to 3G to 4G. While this should lead to higher speeds for the most part, users with 3G SIMs will only be able to place phone calls, and users with 2G phones with some internet support will likely not be able to access the internet.
This puts Vi’s network in Delhi at par with Jio, which has always only supported 4G handsets. Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani has vowed to make India “2G mukt”, or 2G free, and the company has partnered with Google to make low-cost 4G handsets. By starting to refarm spectrum and making internet access 4G-only, Vi is making clear the huge increase in data demand over the last few years (due majorly to the drop in tariffs since Jio’s entry) and also that it expects the telecom handset market to evolve in the direction of low-cost 4G handsets soon.
Vi has also refarmed spectrum in Mumbai, the only other large urban agglomeration which has its own separate telecom circle; this makes these two cities the ideal destinations to start rollout of new technologies or in refarming of spectrum.