Bharti Airtel to Switch to VoLTE Technology in Key Markets to Counter Reliance Jio

India's largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel in a move to transform its network is aiming to deploy VoLTE technology to counter Reliance Jio. Bharti Airtel wants to move to this technology in key markets in the next 12-18 months.

Currently, Reliance Jio is the only operator using VoLTE feature on its network. VoLTE provides an advantage over the 3G and 2G by offering digital voice quality even on the low network. 

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VoLTE technology is the key and relevant in the key markets for Airtel, said Gopal Vittal, chief executive at Airtel. VoLTE technology for Airtel would be more advantageous to Airtel than Reliance Jio as Airtel users can switch automatically to 3G or 2G when the LTE network is not available which is not possible for the operator like Reliance Jio who is operating only on 4G LTE. Pan India 4G operation adds additional advantage to Airtel.

Free services offered by Reliance Jio has hit strongly on Bharti Airtel's profits to tank over 54% compared to the same quarter of the previous year. Hence, it is necessary for Bharti Airtel to improve the technology to beat Reliance Jio. 

Telecom operators are compromising the revenue from Voice calls to offer unlimited calling to compete Reliance Jio. VoLTE which offers good bandwidth over 3G or 2G is necessary to offer unlimited calling as the this does not affect the network quality.


Bharti Airtel is struggling hard to increase ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) even as the call traffic has increased on the network. This reduction on ARPU can be attributed to the asymmetric free offering by the competitive network which is increasing the network load but decreasing the ARPU. The data usage on the network has drastically gone done as many users are keeping the SIM idle and using Reliance Jio. This does not mean that the users have shifted to the other network. The users will come back to use airtel once the free services are halted, said the executive. Airtel is hoping that VoLTE technology is required to counter Reliance Jio at least in the key markets. 

To recall, Bharti Airtel along with Reliance Jio acquired the 4G license from the Government in 2010 and the former is the first operator in India to launch 4G services. Reliance Jio commercially launched 4G services in September 2016. Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio are the only two operators to offer pan-India 4G services in India




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