India's telecoms industry has “bottomed out” on pricing, and is consolidating into a market with just three private players, according to Bharti Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal.
In an interview with India's Economic Times, Vittal said a market with three equally strong competitors is the best possible scenario for the industry.
The three players left standing following the wave of consolidation rocking the sector will be Airtel, the merged Vodafone India / Idea Cellular entity and disruptive market entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm.
Vittal also revealed that Airtel plans to switch off its 3G services within the next 12 to 18 months, but plans to maintain its 2G services over a much longer period.
In rural areas of some circles, more than half of the company's subscribers remain on 2G, and the networks are likely to remain operational for another five tears.
Finally, Vittal said Airtel plans to complete a pan-India rollout of VoLTE by September. The operator is also trailing a voice over Wi-Fi service, and is evaluating entering the in-flight connectivity market once the Department of Telecom releases the planned licensing framework.