24 December 2015 09:31:33 IST

Idea Cellular trumps RJio with 4G launch in South India

Service to span 75 towns – across all five states of South India

Mobile users in places like Hosur, Kadapa, Tiruppur, Calicut and Cuddalore will now get access to 4G services.

Just four days ahead of Reliance Jio’s mega event to launch telecom services for its employees, rival operator Idea Cellular emerged as a show stealer on Wednesday with the launch of its 4G services.

The Aditya Birla Nuvo owned cellular operator announced the launch of its high speed broadband services across 75 towns – spread across all five states of South India – Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.

The launch comes on the back of a strategy to make inroads into tier 2 and 3 cities at a time when most rival operators, including Airtel and Vodafone are looking to focus on top tier cities. “When voice telephony was introduced it moved from metro cities to tier 2 and 3 cities to the villages. We are seeing an opportunity in the Internet services space to change this and get the first mover advantage in regions where there is demand for data, but it is not being serviced by any telecom operator,” Himanshu Kapania, Managing Director of Idea Cellular told BusinessLine . To make its service attractive, Idea Cellular is giving 4G SIM cards complimentary and tariff plans are priced at par with existing 3G plans.

The company is also offering trial packs for as low as ₹29. Customers buying new 4G smartphones before March 31, are being offered special data packs. To ramp up its network, Idea Cellular is investing ₹6,500 crore this year and is expected to invest similar amount over the next 3 years. In this fiscal year, Idea plans to add 40,000–45,000 tower sites, and complete a cumulative roll out of 1.11 lakh route km of fibre.

By the time Reliance Jio launches its full fledged services by March 2016, Idea Cellular would have rolled out 4G services in 10 circles across 750 towns.

Idea has also partnered with handset manufacturers such as Samsung, Lenovo, Intex, Lava and Xolo for devices, and with e-commerce major Snapdeal for bundled offer for new 4G smartphones.

Sashi Shankar, Chief Marketing Officer, Idea Cellular, said: “Idea is proactively working on creating an ecosystem which will enable India to transition to the exciting new digital world.”