India's second largest telecom operator Vodafone today said it will launch 4G services in five cities from December this year, around the same time when Reliance Jio has announced will start its pan India 4G services.
The services will be rolled out in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Kochi in the first phase as Vodafone makes about half of its data revenue from these five circles. It had obtained 4G licences for these circles in February last year.
Testing of 4G networks has been completed successfully and the company is building a robust and resilient network architecture with a strong backhaul to support the need for speed, it said in a statement.
At present, Airtel, India's largest telecom operator in terms of revenue and subscriber base is the only player to offer 4G services across nine circles, including its recently acquired licence for Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh circle post acquisition of Augere.
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Reliance Jio Infocomme, backed by billionaire Mukesh Ambani is the single operator in India which has 4G license for all the 22 telecom circles in India. As telecom operators are anticipating cut throat competition once Jio rolls out its services in December this year, they are also trying to start services around the same time to grab some market share.
Vodafone also said it will offer all India 4G services at an opportune time. "Vodafone understands the needs of the 4G customer and is well positioned to launch 4G pan India at an appropriate time," the company said.
India's third largest operator Idea Cellular has said it will increase investment in setting up infrastructure for 4G services this fiscal and was expecting to launch 4G services by January 2016.
Apart from 4G services, the operators are trying to increase their presence in 3G networks as well. Vodafone said along with 4G services it will also launch 3G services in some of the circles where it has not started yet.
"Vodafone India will also roll out its own 3G networks in 7 circles - Assam, North East, UP West, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala and Odisha, to expand its overall 3G footprint to 16 circles across the country," the company said.
To cater to high speed internet demand and to facilitate a wider bouquet of products and services, it has upgraded charging platforms and has made major investments to laid down high capacity fibre, Vodafone said.