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Bharti Airtel starts VoLTE roll-out, service live in Mumbai

Bharti Airtel launched its Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services today, starting in Mumbai, and said call charges will remain the same.

Airtel VoLTE, which works over 4G, will offer customers HD quality voice calls along with faster call set up time.

“Airtel VoLTE will be available on popular 4G/LTE enabled mobile devices, which must have a Airtel 4G SIM. Customers can call any mobile, landline network using Airtel VoLTE,” the company said.

“There will be no additional data charges for VoLTE and calls will be billed as per existing plan or packs benefits.”

Depending on the settings configured by the user, VoLTE will be used for making calls when available, while 2G and 3G will be used when the network is not available.

“Airtel VoLTE will also allow customers to continue with their data sessions at 4G speeds while the call is in progress,” it said.

Barely two months ago, the company had claimed that the service will be ready only by early next year.

The launch will help the company increase its voice carriage capacity by a substantial amount, and free up 2G and 3G spectrum.

The company has set up website, airtel.in/volte, to help customers figure out if their device is approved for use with the service.

“Airtel has tested and certified popular device models for VoLTE compatibility. More models will keep getting added to this list,” it said.

In some cases, it said, the device’s operating system has to be upgraded to the latest version that supports VoLTE. “This update is provided by the handset manufacturer.”

Abhay Savargaonkar, Director – Networks, Bharti Airtel said, “This is a significant milestone in Airtel’s network transformation journey under Project Leap. Airtel has built a world-class 4G network across India and with the VoLTE compatible device ecosystem beginning to mature, we believe it’s the right time to enable VoLTE calling as part of our service portfolio. 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 has also deployed 4G Advanced Carrier Aggregation technology in Mumbai that enables data speeds of up to 135 Mbps by combining spectrum capacities in 2300 Mhz (TD LTE) and 1800 Mhz (FD LTE).

The move makes Airtel the second company to launch VoLTE in India, after Reliance Jio.

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