Bharti Airtel and Vodafone-Idea are chasing quality mobile broadband consumers to topple the fast-growing Reliance Jio Infocomm, the Economic Times reports.
While Airtel has shifted its users from the second and third-generation networks in 10 circles to the fourth generation, Vodafone-Idea redeployed the legacy airwaves in Mumbai to provide 4G services.
Airtel has expanded the 900MHz airwaves to six more circles - Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, Odisha, UP-East and West Bengal. These airways were allocated at prices determined by the government. The company has also started to deploy the 4G 2,100Mhz bands.
According to a person aware of the issue, the progress of Vodafone-Idea’s spectrum refarming outside Mumbai is delayed as the old legacy network equipment - 900Mhz does not support 4G LTE services.
The telecom market leader in India gave contracts to replace outdated equipment. So far, the company has integrated a quarter of its dual radio networks allowing 2G, 3G and 4G services on the same system.
The Chief Technology Offer of Airtel, Randeep Sekhon, said the company “has deployed 4G in the 900 Mhz band in 10 circles", which would "significantly step up user experience with improved indoor coverage and also complement its massive 4G capacity in the 2300 Mhz and 1800 Mhz bands”.
Airtel is expecting the refarming of airwaves to boost the 4G network capacity at virtually zero incremental costs. The fast deployment of the 900Mhz 4G spectrum has already led to an increase of over 11 million 4G customers in the quarter through December.
Despite not sharing the details of their refarming progress on 900Mhz and 2,100Mhz band airwaves, in November, the company said that the 2100Mhz band airwaves used in 3G services would be decommissioned in six to nine months.
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