Aircel in bid to launch second 4G network

9 Dec 2013

Wireless provider Aircel may become the second operator to offer 4G services in India when the cellco launches operations in its ‘established cities’ in the next three to six months, the Economic Times writes, citing a senior Aircel executive. Following on the heels of Bharti Airtel’s Long Term Evolution (LTE) network launch, Aircel is vying with Reliance Jio Infocomm, part of petrochemical giant Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), to activate the nation’s second 4G system. Aircel’s chief marketing officer, Anupam Vasudev commented that banks had been more willing to assist with funding for the 4G rollout, despite the company’s association with a number of corruption cases and loss-making operations – issues that had previously complicated securing additional loans. Vasudev put the change of heart down to a recent shift in Aircel’s strategy to concentrate on greater profitability: ‘The focus is very clear that you need profitable growth. That has been our endeavour for the last year. And we will have to continue doing this for another year before making any major investment.’ Explaining the shift, the official went on to say that the cellco has reduced costs by signing intra-circle roaming deals to lease out its vacant networks to rivals Tata Teleservices (TTSL) and Reliance Communications (RCOM): ‘We don’t have scale. For us, it makes sense to kind of work with each other because it helps utilise assets optimally. So we work with both Reliance and Tata DoCoMo.’