Airtel India is VoLTE service trial is going on in Mumbai & Gurgaon for selected iphone & other handset users. Expected in other states by 1st Jan 2018. By VoLTE launch Airtel would be able to offer HD voice calls and better voice plans due increased calling capacity on existing 4G tower reducing load on 2G/3G capacity.
However Airtel is not gonna go out of Beta unless it is completely sure of zero problems on it’s 4G VoLTE network so expect longer Beta/Trial phase than Jio 4G.
In 4th quarter of 2016 Airtel gave $100million contract to Nokia networks for addition of VoLTE capability to it’s network. Currently VoLTE is in test phase where handsets of major manufacturers are being tested. VoLTE would enable Airtel to allow voice calls on 4G network. For now handset switches from 4G network to 3G or 2G network whenever a voice call is made or received putting extra load on handset battery with switchovers.
As of now only Jio is providing VoLTE service on it’s 4G only network. Further VoLTE allow enlarged calling capacity of many times in comparison to 3G/2G networks. VoLTE is the future, as people upgrade handsets eventually in next 5-10 years both 2G(first one to phased out) & 3G will be shutdown with 4G only or maybe 5G only networks both of which are pure packet based data networks.
Once Airtel launches VoLTE we can expect further better tariff plans & more feature phone with VoLTE capacity to be launched. In next 4-5 years these operators would be gradually move on from 2G/3G/4G to 4G/3G network & further 5years down the lane to 4G/5G network. Existing 2G spectrum would be used for 4G networks.
Currently Jio 4G network is at advantage due 4G only network with far bigger voice capacity than those of these 2G/3G/4G integrated incumbent operators. This allows Jio to offer competitive voice tariffs. With Airtel launch we expect this jio advantage to narrow down.
We also hope Airtel doesn’t limit itself to VoLTE only. Instead it goes one step ahead and launches VoWiFi so that call drop problem of urban customers is gone forever.