Last year, Reliance Jio made a groundbreaking entry in the Indian telecom industry with its rock-bottom tariff prices and began offering Voice over LTE (VoLTE) calling technology in the country. While some of Jio's rival telcos are still busy launching new data offers, Airtel seems to be taking a step further with the rollout of its VoLTE services. An indication of its imminent launch was spotted in the changelog of the latest software update on Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, which adds Airtel VoLTE support.
We've reached out to Airtel for a comment on its 4G VoLTE rollout plans, as well as Xiaomi with regards to the feature addition. An Airtel spokesperson responded by saying, "We are piloting/testing VoLTE in a few places but there are no launch timelines that we can share at this point."
The Airtel VoLTE support was spotted on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 of a Gadgets 360 team member, added with the MIUI v126.96.36.199.MCFMIDL software update. The changelog says "New - Airtel VoLTE support (06-14)", as seen in the screenshot. Other changes brought by the update include May Android security update, and fixes for connectivity, SD card, and notification issues.
Reliance Jio's entry into the Indian telecom market has shaken up the entire industry, with free calling on VoLTE networks one of its primary USPs. Rival telcos have found it hard to compete with this, as well as the increased value for money on data plans. Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, and other telcos have been rolling out new plans every week in an attempt to keep customers, and the offering of VoLTE calling is a natural progression to compete on the first front.