Idea Will Evaluate 4G Technology Only After 2016: CEO Himanshu Kapania

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Idea Cellular, India’s thirdlargest mobile phone carrier, will convert 70% of its network to 3G over the next three years, from 40% now, continuing to focus on the rural and semi-urban voice market where it is seeing maximum growth, chief executive Himanshu Kapania told ET’s Deepali Gupta in an interview. In the remaining areas where the company sees no uptake of data services, it will wait for 2G data subscribers before it converts them to broadband sites. The telco will look at 4G only after 2016. Edited excerpts: 

At a time when industry is buzzing with talk of data consumption, why is Idea proposing to merely convert 70% of the network to 3G services? 

First we need to see there are sufficient Internet users for mobile data in any area before we upgrade. There are markets where people are not accessing 2G data. We have seen that 2G data gets taken first, then faster consumption opens up. It will take some time for these areas.

What is your position on voice over Internet platforms? Is that a threat? 
Voice is a premium service for an operator. We are able to subsidise mobile data on the back of voice revenue. What is lost in this debate of differential pricing of late is that if basic voice revenue is on stress it will put pressure on the entire system. Then will the network be sustainable at all to provide any connectivity? So that revenue stream needs to be protected, even if it is by increasing the price of data eventually.

Read full post at ET Telecom

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Wahengbam Rorrkychand

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