Leading telecom operators across the nation are running a marathon to launch 4G services in the wake of Reliance Jio’s upcoming 4G commercial launch.
India’s only pan-India 4G operator, Reliance Jio, is planning for a commercial 4G launch within the March-April time frame. According to some industry sources, Reliance Jio’s 4G network is almost 90 percent ready for the upcoming launch.
The company’s employees are currently testing the network and Reliance Jio is optimizing the network based on their feedback. So far, the feedback has been positive.
Reliance Jio is internally facing the question of whether to go for a phase-wise or a pan India launch. The timeline for the pan-India launch will be around early April. For a phase-wise launch, the company is likely to target at the last two weeks of March.
According to The Economic Times, post phase one of 4G launch in India, 4G expansion if likely to experience a cool off until customers have adopted the new technology. Telecom experts are also saying that the capex geared towards high-speed broadband services will also go down by almost 50 percent.
Akshaya Moondra, Idea Cellular’s CFO, said that 4G launches in the 12 key service areas where his company owns airwaves will pick up steam. However, there is likely to be an immediate cool off on 4G investment thereafter.
According to an anonymous analyst, the last quarter of 2015 showed that data adoption by customers has been much slower than what was initially expected. Customers have showed a preference for sticking to 2G networks rather than upgrade to 3G at a premium of 30 percent, so for many 4G is a huge jump.
According to The Economic Times, telecom operators are seeking to guard their key markets with the current launches. Brokerage CLSA, Asia’s leading brokering and investment group, says that Reliance Jio is seeking to acquire 7 percent market share by the end of March 2018.
CLSA is expecting 55 percent of Jio’s new signups to come from Idea Cellular (around 10 million), Vodafone India (12 million) and Bharti Airtel (15 million). This is primarily the reason why these companies are rushing to launch 4G services.