Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL), the telecom operator providing services under ‘Vi’ brand, will completely shut down 3G services across all its circles in the country by the financial year 2022, and move over to 4G. The operator will continue to offer 2G services, while its network is also 5G ready.

The shutdown of 3G services will be phased, which will be done after the operator re-farms all its 2100 MHz and 900 MHz spectrum to offer 4G services. The 4G coverage in priority circles is also expected to increase to more than 90 per cent by the end of the fiscal year 2022, from about 83 per cent in March 2020, VIL Chief Financial Officer Akshaya Moondra said in analysts’ call.

VIL will also scale up 4G device adoption through large programmes jointly with original equipment manufacturers and non-banking finance companies, which will also enhance the proportion of its high Average Revenue Per User (or ARPU, a financial metric for a telecom firm) subscribers.

These initiatives would also help in growth in data consumption and smartphone adoption, among others.

The company’s network is also 5G ready, he said, adding a Massive-MIMO (a technology for higher throughput and spectrum efficiency) roll-out would also help the operator add large capacity as small cell deployments would help in decongesting metros and large cities.

About 90 per cent of VIL’s Time Division Duplex (TDD) radios are 5G ready, and all its new base bands are 5G capable, while the operator has also piloted Open-Radio Access Network (Open-RAN) deployments, he said.