New Delhi, Sept 12:
The VoLTE war has started in India and two of the country’s most popular telecom operators have entered the ring. Last year Jio made headlines for changing the face of telecom connectivity in India by launching the VoLTE services, and consequently unlimited “free calls” in India and now Airtel that is arguably India’s largest telecom operator has announced the launch of VoLTE services.
Just like the Jio VoLTE calls, the Airtel VoLTE calls are also free!
The Airtel VoLTE services has been launched in Mumbai first and the country-wide roll out is expected to happen in the next few months. Like Jio’s service, the Airtel VoLTE also works on 4G network and will offers HD voice quality calls along with faster call setup time. Airtel has long been in fight with Jio over its free or cheap data plans and has left no stone unturned to match against it. But due to the free VolTE calls that Jio offered, it seemed Jio had the edge. Now that changes. Now it seems Airtel too can offer free calls, although for now only in Mumbai.
So what is Airtel’s VoLTE service? How is it going to change the dynamics of the Indian telecom market? Are the VoLTE calls be free? These and many more similar questions we answer here to help you get a better picture of what is happening in the Indian telecom sector currently.
What is Airtel VoLTE service?
Before understanding Airtel VoLTE service, it is important to understand what is VoLTE service. Currently, in India VoLTE — it stands for voice over LTE — is only offered by Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio in India.
VoLTE allows an operator to offer both voice and data over a 4G LTE network. The big advantage of VoLTE is that call quality is superior to 3G and 2G connections (through which voice is usually routed) as much more data can be transferred via 4G.
VoLTE also allows for greater coverage, at least theoretically. The frequencies that 4G operates on, like the 800MHz spectrum, have far greater reach than the 2G or 3G spectrum. VoLTE also increases battery life of a smartphone as the network does not need to constantly switch to the 3G/2G network every time a call is placed.
VoLTE has many advantages such as superior range, better voice quality and less drain on battery life. Now Airtel has launched this VoLTE service and it is called Airtel VoLTE service.
Are these Airtel VoLTE calls free?
Yes, there will be no additional data charges for VoLTE services. The calls will be billed as per the existing plan or packs benefits just like Jio.
How to get Airtel VoLTE in your 4G enabled smartphone?
— Check mobile device compatibility here . Airtel has tested and certified popular device models for VoLTE compatibility. More models will keep getting added to this list. Popular high-end smartphones are currently supported.
— Upgrade the mobile device’s operating software to the latest version that supports VoLTE. This update is provided by the handset manufacturer.
— Ensure the device has a Airtel 4G SIM. Customers can upgrade to the 4G SIM by visiting the nearest Airtel store.
— Enable VoLTE by following instructions here .
The Airtel 4G SIM should be in the data SIM slot/slot 1 and network mode should be set as “4G/3G/2G (Auto)” to enable the Airtel VoLTE. iPhone SE, iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, iPhone 7, Redmi Note 4, Mi Max Prime and Oppo F3 Plus are some of the famous smartphones that are compatible with Airtel VoLTE.
How will Airtel VoLTE service change the dynamics of Indian telecom market?
Airtel’s launch of its 4G VoLTE services come at a very important time when Jio is disrupting the industry and causing a lot of headache to leading operators like Airtel and Vodafone. Until now. Reliance Jio was the only telecom operator in India offering VoLTE services which allowed it to easily offer voice calls for free.
As VoLTE allows the operator to route calls via the data network, the operator incurs lower cost while providing the service. That was the main reason why Reliance Jio was able to provide voice calls for free to all of its subscribers easily.
With VoLTE at its disposal, Airtel could also now start offering completely free voice calls to all of its subscribers. Airtel has a large user base on 2G and 3G network and the company could now offers attractive offers and upgrades to get them on the 4G network.
There are rumours that Airtel is in talks with different handset dealers to offer a cheap 4G-enabled smartphone so there are heavy chances that the company could even pull a large number of Jio users who are facing trouble with Jio’s spotty network in some areas on to its network. Reliance Jio has a VoLTE exclusive network which does not support 2G or 3G connectivity.
Next big change in the Indian telecom industry is VoLTE and with it we can expect that in future, all calls will be free. People will only be charged for data they consume. With telecom giant Airtel entering the VoLTE market, now we can expect other telecom companies like Vodafone, Idea and BSNL may also join the bandwagon soon.