Idea Cellular, an Aditya Birla group company, has expanded its 4G network to 575 towns after starting the service in December 2015.
The telecom network operator has 4G spectrum in 10 circles against Reliance Jio’s spectrum in 22 circles in India. Idea Cellular has rolled out 14,000 sites for 4G services in 100 days, covering 125 million people.
Of the 575 towns where it has launched 4G, Idea Cellular has the first mover advantage in 250 towns and has garnered 6 million subscribers.
The following is the highlight of the article prepared by Hindu BusinessLine’s Thomas K Thomas.
Two years back, Idea Cellular had 22,000 3G sites. In the last two years, Idea Cellular rolled out 28,000 additional sites for 3G.
Idea Cellular’s 3G and 4G combined broadband coverage reached 400 million of the population against 200 million two years back.
Idea Cellular’s 4G service is receiving better response from small and mid-sized towns as compared with larger towns in India. Larger towns have options in terms of other operators and technology.
Idea Cellular is building larger capacities for meeting data demands. Idea Cellular MD says it’s not building ahead of time.
Reliance Jio Infocomm, the 4G venture promoted by RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani, is investing around $20 billion in its 4G infrastructure and spectrum. Idea Cellular does not share specific details on its 4G investments. It enhanced Capex to increase focus on 4G network.
Idea Cellular is using analytics to study user demand. Himanshu Kapania admits that the company needs to cover more locations to improve customer experience. The technology company has 50,000 3G sites and 14,000 4G sites across India.
Idea has broadband coverage in all 22 circles, between 3G and 4G. The company may adopt models such as ICR or MVNO in geographies where it’s not strong – in the short term.
Idea Cellular recently announced the cancellation of its spectrum trading deal with Videocon. Airtel is buying spectrum from Videocon.
Himanshu Kapania of Idea Cellular says the quantum of spectrum is large and he can be selective in purchase. The company can buy spectrum according to the demand.