India’s Aircel yesterday said it will roll out 4G services by the end of the year in the eight regions where it has 20MHz of 2.3GHz spectrum.
It already offers 4G service in six areas to enterprise customers, the Economic Times said. Aircel CTO Sameer Dave said it plans to launch in the two remaining regions to meet its obligation with the Department of Telecom.
Aircel, which has an 8.5 per cent market share and is 74 per cent owned by Malaysia’s Maxis, plans to add 5,400 base stations this year, taking its total to about 13,000 (60 per cent of which are 3G or 4G).
It is the latest operator to outline its 4G launch plans over the past few months.
This month the country’s third largest operator Idea Cellular said it plans to roll out 4G service by early next year in 10 regions and state-owned BSNL, a smaller mobile operator with an 8 per cent market share, said it will launch 4G service by next March.
Idea, with a 16.5 per cent market share, was the biggest spender in the country’s 4G auctions in March – paying close to INR303 billion ($4.57 billion) for 48MHz, with renewals making up the majority of its spending.
BSNL said its 4G rates will be competitive with Reliance Jio Infocomm and other players.
Market leader Bharti Airtel has been aggressively pushing 4G across the country over the past few months and recently said it plans to expand its 4G service, currently offered in 45 cities and towns, to 296 urban areas. The new push is aimed at gaining an edge on new entrant Jio, which has delayed its pan-India 4G launch from June to the end of the year.
Vodafone India, the country’s second largest operator, said late last month it will launch 4G services in five cities, including Mumbai and Delhi, by the end of the year.