Bharti Airtel has signed a $60 million (roughly Rs 402 crore) pan-India deal to Nokia for implementation of voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) calling technology which is expected to get launched by this year. Citing the sources, EconomicTimes has reported the deal between the two companies.
Airtel had piloted the VoLTE technology in few areas of the country and after its successful testing, the company is looking at a bigger viewpoint by offering a pan-India contract for IP Multimedia System (IMS) solutions to Finnish gear maker, Nokia.
The VoLTE technology enables both voice and data services over the LTE network which is beneficial for the operator as it eliminates the band switching. The VoLTE is the new technology which has adopted by the newcomer Reliance Jio. The technology just requires another application to put the voice calls on an LTE data network.
At present, Airtel provides the calling facility on the legacy circuit-switch technology. The industry experts believe that Airtel may receive an advantage for its VoLTE services if it gets launched anytime soon. The Jio services are still facing the interconnection issues and as a result, it hasn’t been able to go public due to call failures.
The VoLTE service for Airtel users will be a complimentary service alongside the existing voice offering. So, if a user goes beyond the VoLTE network, it will be automatically switched to the lower technology- 2G and 3G. Hence the users will likely to get better connectivity on an overall basis.
Sunil Mittal, Chairman at Bharti Airtel has stated last month that the company will start the commercial VoLTE services once it realizes the number of 4G VoLTE mobiles live on their network.
The Indian smartphone market has witnessed almost doubled consumer demand for 4G VoLTE mobiles since the arrival of Reliance Jio 4G smartphone services in September.
The VoLTE technology is economical for the telcos and apart from this, the technology offers advantages like spectral efficiency which help in dealing with the call drop issues to an extent. In addition, the VoLTE technology benefits the users as well as it offers a better smartphone battery life, better voice quality, and less call to set up time. Hence, many smartphone makers are offering 4G VoLTE mobiles in every segment due to the popularity.