Nagpur: Being worked upon for some time, Airtel VoLTE service is to, apparently, begin from the upcoming week. As suggested in a report, Airtel, India’s biggest telecom operator, will be launching the service in Mumbai to take on rival Jio.
The calls just like that in Jio will be using 4G data network and thus, will be free for the users.
As stated in a report in Economic Times, Mumbai will be the first city where Airtel users will get VoLTE calls feature. The service will later be extended to other cities. The launch comes after a comprehensive VoLTE calls trial that Airtel was doing earlier on its network.
Although, a new technology, VoLTE has become popular in India after Jio entered the market last year. Instead of relying on GSM network, Jio uses 4G data to enable voice calls. This is the reason why Jio can offer unlimited free calls to its users. This is also one feature that Airtel and other telecom operators have struggled to match even as they have brought down the data prices and call charges to meet the challenge from Jio.
“Some customers in Mumbai and Kolkata, and then other metro cities where Airtel is planning to launch, will get messages to activate VoLTE calls on their phones,” said the sources.
Using VoLTE requires some specific software and hardware support in the phone a person is using. Although most of the smartphones, launched in India especially after the launch of Jio, support VoLTE calls, many older phones and feature phones will not be able to use it.
To target feature phone users and woo them with free calls, Jio recently launched the “free” JioPhone. The JioPhone, although a feature phone in terms of design and hardware, has some smartphone like traits and it can utilise 4G network to make VoLTE calls.
It has been rumoured that by the end of this year, Airtel will also come out with its own 4G feature phone that will support free VoLTE calls. Although details are scarce, it is expected that Airtel will partner with other phone makers, possibly and Indian phone company like Micromax or Intex, to create a 4G feature phone similar to JioPhone.