Airtel to launch voice services for 4G users in Pune — on GSM network

Telecom Lead India: Jagbir Singh, CTO & director – Network Services Group, Bharti Airtel, says Airtel will soon launch voice services for its 4G / TD-LTE customers in Pune, through its existing GSM network.

The country’s largest telecom operator has selected Nokia Siemens Networks to deploy its Circuit Switched FallBack (CSFB) voice solution in the operator’s live TD-LTE network in Pune.

Nokia Siemens is the 4G equipment supplier to Airtel in Pune.

CSFB enables the network to transfer customers to GSM platform to make and receive voice calls and access voicemails while retaining the experience of ultra-fast data services on 4G smartphones.

Besides Pune, Airtel has 4G presence in Kolkata and Bangalore. Reliance Industries’ 4G venture is also looking at launching voice and data services. According to DoT, BWA license providers can offer voice if they offer Rs 1600 crore as additional license fee.

On Sunday, reported that without huge Capex, voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) plans of RIL’s (Reliance Industries) 4G venture will not be a feasible business, analysts and mobile industry experts warned.

This warning is applicable to other 4G (TD-LTE) service providers such as Bharti Airtel, Airtel, Tikona, etc. as well if they are going to rely on 4G network (with mobility) driven voice and data as key business focus areas to succeed in Indian telecom market.

Since Airtel has a GSM network to support, it will ensure smooth voice calls. Bharti Airtel on Monday said it has the advantage of pan-India GSM and 3G networks and with the deployment of cutting edge CSFB functionality.

“We will have the flexibility of using either or both the networks to support voice services on our TD-LTE platform. The solution will enable our 4G customers to enjoy high-quality voice services on GSM network and ultra-fast data services on TD-LTE platform,” said Jagbir Singh, CTO & director – Network Services Group, Bharti Airtel.

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Thorsten Robrecht, head of Mobile Broadband portfolio management at Nokia Siemens, said: “This achievement of enabling world-first voice call fallback from TD-LTE to GSM in live network is yet another milestone in our efforts to strengthen the commercialization and deployment of TD-LTE technology globally.”

Nokia Siemens has deployed its radio network elements in addition to its voice core and packet core network elements to the commercially launched network of Bharti Airtel in Pune.

The company deployed its Single RAN (radio access network) platform based on its award-winning, energy-efficient Flexi Multiradio Base Station. In addition, the company deployed its Mobile Softswitching (MSS) systems and its Liquid Core-based Evolved Packet Core (EPC) platform, including Flexi NS (Network Server) and Flexi NG (Network Gateway).

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