India's Bharti Airtel has announced plans to launch VoLTE services later this year to counter new market entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm.
Airtel is trialing VoLTE in five cities and plans to become the second operator in the nation after Reliance Jio to launch the technology, NDTVreported.
The launch could potentially allow Airtel to better compete against Reliance Jio's strategy of offering free voice calls and only charging for data. The entry of Jio into the market has triggered a price war and compelled the nation's operators to pursue consolidation in response.
Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal detailed the company's VoLTE plans at an event announcing the launch of Project Next, its latest initiative aimed at improving the customer experience.
As part of the new project, Airtel has introduced a data rollover program enabling customers to carry over up to 200GB of data left unused in the previous month.
The new initiative will also include improvements to the operator's app, website and in-store experience, including the Family Promise program designed to allow postpaid customers to develop multiple customized plans for each family member over the MyAirtel app, enabling savings of up to 20%.
Airtel revealed plans to invest up to 20 billion rupees ($309.8 million) on Project Next, and through the program aims to transform into a truly digital service provider.