Bharti Airtel announced the launch of its Voice over LTE (VoLTE) service in Mumbai, offering customers HD quality voice calls and faster call set up time.
Airtel said customers can call any mobile or landline number using VoLTE. There will be no additional data charges for VoLTE and calls will be billed as per existing plan or packs benefits.
Airtel rival Reliance Jio was the first – and until now, only – cellco in India to offer VoLTE when it launched the service around a year ago. News reports in November 2016 claimed that Airtel was trialing VoLTE with Nokia. The Airtel VoLTE launch puts an end to Jio’s VoLTE monopoly.
Airtel says its main advantage in the VoLTE race against Jio is seamless connectivity enabled by its wide 4G network coverage. The cellco also assured customers that they can use VoLTE and 4G data at the same time with no impact on data performance, and that if user drops from 4G to 3G in the middle of a VoLTE call, the call will be handed down without being dropped (although the voice quality will be noticeably different if the call starts as a VoLTE-to-VoLTE call).
Abhay Savargaonkar, director of networks at Bharti Airtel said that with the VoLTE compatible device ecosystem beginning to mature, now is the right time to enable VoLTE calling. “Over the next few months, we will rapidly accelerate the deployment of VoLTE to cover all key geographies to bring HD quality calling to our customers.”
Airtel advised interested customers to make sure their device is VoLTE-compatible, upgrade its operating software to the latest version that supports VoLTE, and – of course – make sure they are using a 4G SIM. For customers using dual-SIM handsets, they need to ensure that their 4G SIM has been inserted in the data SIM slot/slot 1, and that the device’s network mode has been set to “4G/3G/2G (Auto)”.