Vodafone India has revealed plans to launch 4G services by the end of the year and extend its 3G footprint, as it prepares for strict competition from Reliance Jio Infocomm.
The operator has announced that the first wave of its 4G rollout will focus on important data markets including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Kochi.
Vodafone India will also roll out its own 3G networks in an additional seven of India's 22 telecom circles - Assam, North East, Uttar Pradesh West, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala and Odisha - expanding its total 3G footprint to 16 circles.
Between the two rollouts Vodafone is significantly increasing its data capabilities in the five circles that together contribute nearly half of its total data revenues in India - Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Kerala and Karnataka.
Vodafone India has been aggressively expanding its network to accommodate growing data demand.
This expansion has involved rolling out over 23,000 new cell sites during the financial year ending in March and investing heavily in fiber backhaul.
India's mobile operators are bracing for the impact of the re-entry of the deep-pocketed Reliance Industries to the telecom sector, with the planned December launch of 4G services from subsidiary Reliance Jio Infocomm.
Reliance Jio has an ambition to become a nationwide mobile operator focused heavily on data, teasing plans to offer voice and data services at half the current average market rates. Vodafone India is aiming to shore up its own mobile data business prior to the disruption.