Idea Cellular, India’s third largest mobile provider by subscribers, has announced plans to ramp up 4G services as it looks to fend off competition from newcomer Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL) and continue challenging market leaders Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India. To that end, the operator is planning to install 57,000 new base stations and expand its LTE coverage to 20 circles from its current eleven by the end of the financial year (i.e. 31 March 2017), the Economic Times writes. Through the nation’s recent spectrum auction Idea acquired 4G-compatible airwaves in the 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands, enabling it deploy frequency division duplex LTE (FDD-LTE) services in nine new circles – Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh West, Uttar Pradesh East, Bihar, Rajasthan, Mumbai, West Bengal, Assam and Jammu & Kashmir – as well as snapping up time division spectrum in the 2300MHz and 2500MHz ranges across some 15 circles.
Alongside the network development, Idea has said it will look to fight RJIL’s suite of free applications with its own content services, including launching Idea-branded games by the end of December 2016 and ‘Idea Movies and Music Services’ in the near future.