Idea Cellular, India’s third largest mobile provider by subscribers, is planning to launch 4G services in a further nine circles and 3G services in two additional circles – Bihar and Rajasthan – by March 2017. Over the last year, the company has more than doubled the coverage of its mobile broadband (3G/4G) network, which now covers nearly 500 million Indians across 100,000 towns and villages, writes the Economic Times citing a statement from the company. Idea currently offers 4G services in eleven circles, whilst 3G services are available in 21 circles via its own network and those of its intra-circle roaming partners. In the October 2016 spectrum auction, the cellco purchased additional frequencies (1800MHz and 2100MHz), enabling it to expand LTE coverage to Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh West, Uttar Pradesh East, Bihar, Rajasthan, Mumbai, West Bengal, Assam and Jammu & Kashmir.
Meanwhile, Idea is also in advanced talks with vendors Ericsson and Nokia regarding a planned introduction of voice-over-LTE (VoLTE). The operator is planning to launch the service during the current calendar year, and an agreement with a vendor is expected shortly.