Vodafone Idea 3G Users to Get Vi GIGAnet 4G Upgrade, But 2G Services Will Continue

Vodafone Idea 3G Users to Get Vi GIGAnet 4G Upgrade, But 2G Services Will Continue

Vi, which recently rebranded from Vodafone Idea, has reportedly planned a phased upgrade of its 3G users to 4G network, but unlike Airtel and Reliance Jio, does not plan to end 2G services in India yet.

Vi, erstwhile Vodafone Idea, still has a considerable chunk of its users operating on 2G and 3G networks. Now, the rebranded operator has reportedly decided that it will upgrade its users still on 3G networks to the Vi GIGAnet 4G network. However, Vi has also decided that voice centric users that are still on the operator’s 2G spectrum will continue to remain on the archaic network connectivity bandwidth. The move comes at a time when competing operators such as Reliance Jio are preparing to introduce 5G network services in India by 2021.

Announced recently, Vi, which so far operated as Vodafone Idea, has introduced its GIGAnet 4G network, advertising it as India’s largest and fastest 4G network service. However, Vi still has a sizeable portion of users that are still on the operator’s 3G network services. These are the users that will first be upgraded to 4G in phases, starting with enterprise users that are still on 3G. However, in rural circles where users are still voice first, Vi has decided to continue operating its network in the 2G spectrum. The move is likely in line with the operator’s financial standing at the moment, as it stands at a very precarious position among telecom operators, aided by the adjusted gross revenues (AGR) penalties in times when its market share, user base and overall revenue have all drastically fallen.

By retaining its 2G network, Vi will look to save on infrastructure upgrade costs, which can be key to streamlining the operator’s overall costs. However, with other operators as well as services pushing for data first operation of services, Vi may find its journey an arduous one. Rivals such as Bharti Airtel have since moved away from 2G connectivity, while Reliance Jio has announced a planned upgrade of its network to 5G.

Going by present circumstances, it seems that Vi may not be among the first in India to unveil 5G connectivity to its users. Vodafone Idea was once the largest telecom operator in India, individually as Vodafone India and as the merged operator. However, its market share has since declined drastically, and it remains to be seen what lies ahead for the beleaguered telecom operator in India.

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