Idea Cellular management was cautious about LTE initially. But a significant and unexpected acceleration in 4G device ecosystem in the past 18 months, increased affordability of LTE handsets and reduction in LTE equipment prices warranted up-fronting of 4G launch to 2016. Initially the launch will be in four circles, including Karnataka and TN where Idea has no 3G, as well as places with high 3G demand. Idea expects LTE to add value initially in areas where high-capacity high-speed data is needed. Most of the recent BTSs installed are capable of running both 2G+LTE (in 1800MHz) or 2G+3G (in 900MHz), simultaneously in 2 separate blocks in the same frequency or one technology at a time, if only one block in a frequency is available.
Idea management introduced focus on IoT (Internet of Things) and mentioned efforts to build the ecosystem for digital services around LTE. IoT is a scenario in which objects and machines are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
Current 3G Data Consumption on Idea Network
3G per-site traffic was 13.4GB per site per day (50-60% capacity utilisation, though many capacity enhancements are being implemented) and Rs 141,000 revenue per site per month. For 33k 3G sites this roughly matches with the disclosed aggregate network traffic. A 3G BTS in 2100MHz (of recent vintage) can be switched at a nominal cost to 4G, when required and when the device population warrants.