Indian cellco Bharti Airtel is deploying LTE on the 900MHz band in ten circles, including Delhi and Mumbai, in an effort to decongest its 2G and 3G networks and increase VoLTE traffic, whilst also improving coverage, the Economic Times reports. The introduction of LTE-900 technology is primarily intended to boost indoor coverage and the ‘seamless’ availability of 4G will also contribute to an increase in VoLTE traffic, CTO Randeep Sekhon was quoted as saying, adding: ‘We see healthy growth in VoLTE traffic volume as more customers upgrade to 4G smartphones. This will also decongest 2G/3G networks that carry a bulk of the voice traffic and free up spectrum that can be refarmed for 4G. Airtel is working with vendors Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei and ZTE to complete the deployment in the following circles: Mumbai, Delhi, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kolkata, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, North East, Assam and Rajasthan.
The rollout follows on the heels of a trial of License Assisted Access (LAA) LTE technology completed by Airtel and Swedish vendor Ericsson last month. The test formed part of the cellco’s work to prepare for 5G and achieved download speeds of around 500Mbps. The cellco is reportedly now preparing to deploy LAA LTE on a commercial basis.