Idea plans INR50bn investment plan, rules out launch of ‘still evolving’ 4G

14 May 2015

Idea Cellular, India’s third largest cellco by subscribers, is planning to invest between INR50 billion and INR55 billion (USD778.9 million-USD856.8 million) in its current fiscal year – ending 31 March 2016 – to strengthen its infrastructure, Business Standard reports. The funds will be spent on installing fibre-optic cables as well as improving the cellco’s IT systems and expanding and upgrading its wireless network. A senior official confirmed that the deployment of 4G networks was not on the company’s agenda at the moment, despite Idea holding compatible spectrum for the platform in ten circles. Idea’s chief of corporate affairs Rajat Mukarji explained the company’s position, saying: ‘4G is still evolving, both at the vendor level [in terms] of price points of equipment, which is not yet optimal, and at the consumer level [regarding] experience with the devices.’

Instead of looking to 4G, Idea plans to ‘stabilise’ 3G, with the Economic Times reporting that the cellco is looking to launch 3G services in Kolkata by around November. To that end, the operator has begun talks with ‘leading vendors’ Ericsson, Nokia Networks, Huawei and ZTE regarding equipment contracts for the rollout.