Idea expands 4G service across 39 Karnataka towns

MUMBAI: Idea Cellular has expanded its high speed 4G LTE services across 39 towns in Karnataka.


What’s more, by March 2016, the company will extend its services to three more key markets namely, Maharashtra & Goa, North East and Orissa, and by June 2016, Idea’s 4G footprints will cover 750 cities across 10 telecom circles.


Within a month, the company has expanded its 4G LTE service footprint to 24 districts, including major towns of Bangalore, Mysore, Madikeri, Karwar, Chikmagalur, Belgaum and Chitradurga; covering 20 per cent of the state’s total population.


In addition to Bangalore metro, Idea has launched its 4G services in other towns of Channarayapatna, Udyavara (CT), Harihar, Kunigal, Mulbagal, and Toranagal. Additionally, Idea is planning to launch its 4G services in Mangalore, Udupi-Manipal, Bijapur, Bellary and 18 more towns by end of this financial year, taking the total tally to 61.


It can be recalled that last year in December, Idea Cellular had launched 4G LTE services in all four telecom circles (five states) of South India, namely Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana, and Karnataka. Earlier this month, the company launched services across three more circles (four Indian states) – Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Punjab, expanding its 4G LTE service footprint to 7 telecom service areas.


Idea Cellular deputy managing director Ambrish Jain said, “Since last week of December 2015, Idea has rapidly rolled out its high-speed 4G LTE network to cover seven major markets in India.”


Idea Cellular currently holds 1800 MHz 4G spectrum in these 10 telecom circles, which cover 50 per cent of telecom market but over 60 per cent of Idea’s gross revenue. Additionally, Idea has recently signed an agreement with Videocon Telecommunications for acquiring ‘Right to Use’ 1800 MHz spectrum under Spectrum Trading Agreement in two of its key telecom leadership markets of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh (West). Post completion of this transaction, 4G services will be extended to 12 service areas, covering 75 per cent of Idea’s revenue base in the country.


Idea Cellular chief marketing officer Sashi Shankar added, “Idea customers with 4G devices in these 183 towns can now start experiencing super fast speeds by simply upgrading their existing SIM cards to new 4G SIM cards. The company is also offering attractive subscription plans to digital content including a wide range of the latest music, movies and games. Idea has also partnered with leading handset manufacturers and e-commerce retailers for special data bundling offers on new 4G smartphones.”


Idea’s 4G Prepaid & Postpaid tariff plans are priced at par with existing 3G plans. The company is also offering ‘4G Packs’ starting as low as Rs 21.


Digital Content for 4G consumers 


Idea, marking its first foray in the digital space, is launching an assortment of digital content in partnership with content aggregators.


For music, it has tied-up with Hungama Digital, wherein it will offer content at a monthly subscription price of Rs 99 for all its consumers. For movies and videos, Idea has partnered with Eros International, wherein content will be offered at a monthly subscription price of Rs 49 for all its consumers. Idea will also be launching ‘Idea Games Club’ powered by Opera for all its consumers from 1 February, 2016, at a monthly subscription price of Rs 150. However, as an incentive for new 4G customers, a special offer for subscription at just Rs 29 per month till 31 March, 2016 is available for these packs.


Idea will also unveil ‘Ultimate Plans,’ which provide a Bundleof 4G Data, Unlimited Voice calls and Content subscription, which is powered by Hungama.


Wide Portfolio of 4G Smartphones & Devices

Currently, 2.7 million 4G devices across these seven circles are registered on Idea’s network and growing at an exponential rate. To facilitate 4G device upgrade, Idea has launched branded 4G devices namely Idea 4G Dongles, 4G Mi-Fi (connects 10 users) and Home Wi-Fi (connects 32 users), which are now available at Rs 2,599 onwards with 4G Data offers.


Idea has partnered with Samsung for special offers on its 4G Smartphones, wherein the two companies will launch a variety of programmes to offer differentiated and significant value to customers.


The TSP has also tied up with smartphone manufacturers including Intex Technologies, Lava, Lenovo and Xolo to offer bundled 4G data plans on smartphones.


A tie up is also in place with e-commerce retailer Snapdeal for providing bundled data offers on 4G devices.


Launch of 4G website

The company has also launched its responsive 4G website -www.ideacellular.com/4G, wherein consumers can log on to get more information about 4G services, tariff plans and recharges, locate the nearest Idea stores offering 4G SIMs and much more. Idea is also rolling out a smartphone e-store on its website. Consumers can now buy 4G smartphone brands, Mi-Fi and Dongles. 


The company has also rolled out its FDD platform enabled 4G LTE services on the 1800 MHz frequency band, which is the most preferred spectrum band for deployment of 4G services globally, and is supported by the majority of 4G handsets available in the market.


Idea Cellular’s 4G LTE Network will be equipped with the enhanced ‘Fast Return’ feature enabling seamless and quick toggle for consumers across Idea’s 4G, 3G and 2G networks, offering superior experience for both mobile data and voice services. While the company possesses the capability to introduce VoLTE feature, existing customers’ current 4G devices do not support this feature. Accordingly, the deployment of VoLTE will be evaluated at a later stage.


Idea is deploying state-of-the-art, ‘Single RAN’ equipment, which supports multiple technologies in a given frequency band. For every 4G site on 1800 MHz, this equipment also provides additional 2G voice capacity on GSM spectrum.


For FY16, Idea Cellular’s capex guidance is Rs 6,500 crore, significantly higher than earlier years’ annual capex spends. In this fiscal year, Idea plans to add 40,000 – 45,000 sites on 2G, 3G and 4G technology platforms, complete a cumulative roll out of 111,000 kms of Fibre, and add an incremental 175-200 million population to the mobile broadband (3G & 4G) population coverage. The 4G launch in Southern India is part of the capex guidance by Idea.


The roll out of Idea’s 4G services will be financed through internal accruals. The company recorded an EBITDA of Rs 5,739 crore in H1-FY16, a growth of 27.6 per cent  over H1-FY15 and cash profits of Rs 5,085 crore, a robust growth of 32.5 per cent over H1FY15.

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