Airtel steals a march over rivals, reaches remote parts of Arunachal

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on December 31, 2018 Published on December 31, 2018

Telecom operator’s move comes amid row over BSNL’s network expansion project

Bharti Airtel is reaching out to the remotest parts of Arunachal Pradesh for 4G services, where other operators have not yet been able to go.

Customers in 100 villages across the Hayuliang region, Anjaw district, will now be able to experience faster access to data and HD quality VoLTE calling through Airtel’s network, a senior official told BusinessLine.

“We invite customers to avail the exciting data offers and get on to the digital superhighway. We remain committed to the government’s digital vision for the State and will continue to invest in expanding our services,” said Raveendra Desai, CEO- North-East and Assam, Bharti Airtel.

With this, Airtel’s network now covers 403 towns and 42,466 villages, representing around 92 per cent of the region’s (North-East and Assam) population, he said.

The expansion plan is part of Airtel ‘Project Leap’ – a network transformation initiative.

As part of its network expansion plans, the company will spend ₹45,000-50,000 crore between April 2017 and March 2019.

Airtel has also consistently ramped up its 4G capacity in the North East, to serve the fast growing customer demand for high-speed data, Desai added.

Poor connectivity

According to analysts, Airtel will get the first mover advantage, as the State has been lacking in connectivity for long, and people such as Ninong Ering, MP from Arunachal Pradesh, have been writing to the Ministries concerned, but in vain.

The latest development is that Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), the executing arm of network expansion in the North-East, has issues with BSNL and its sub-contractor Vihaan Networks (VNL).

While the USOF blamed VNL of using substandard technology and stopped releasing funds to BSNL, both the companies have rejected the charges.

The project involves installation of 1,893 mobile towers in the remote areas of Arunachal Pradesh.

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Published on December 31, 2018
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