India's third largest telecom operator Idea Cellular has announced the launch of its Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services in the country. The services will be initially rolled out to Idea employees in select circles starting from March 1 and will be extended to all Idea 4G customers "progressively" on a circle-by-circle basis in the coming days.
With this announcement, Idea becomes the fourth Indian telecom operator to offer VoLTE connectivity after Reliance Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone, which recently deployed the VoLTE services in limited circles.
Idea released a statement saying its VoLTE services will be launched in over 30 cities across 4 circles in the first half of March. These cities include Kochi, Trivandrum, Calicut, Pune, Goa, Nashik Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot and Hyderabad among others.
The telco also plans to cover all the 20 circles with 4G presence with its VoLTE services by the end of April.
Idea claims that the VoLTE services on its high-speed 4G network will offer ultra High Definition call quality in comparison to standard calls, and will enable users to have uninterrupted internet experience whilst simultaneously using the voice services.
Also, unlike Jio which relies only on the 4G network for connectivity, Idea says its VoLTE service will automatically route to its 3G or 2G network when users move out of the 4G coverage area to ensure uninterrupted call connectivity.
Meanwhile, Idea has started partnering with several handset makers to make Idea VoLTE compatible smartphones available in the market, prior to the service's commercial launch.
Huawei /Honor has already rolled-out an Over the Air (OTA) update for select devices enabling support to Idea's VoLTE network, while OnePlus and Xiaomi will be releasing it very soon, according to the statement.
VoLTE or Voice over Long-Term Evolution is a standard for high-speed wireless communication for mobile phones that offers superior quality calling and improved connectivity and coverage.
Following the entry and nation-wide VoLTE deployment by Reliance Jio, many established Indian telecom operators like Airtel and Vodafone have started rolling out the service. In February this year, Vodafone, which is in talks with Idea for a merger, launched its VoLTE services in three major circles across India.