Indian telecom operator Airtel, which has operations in over 17 countries today signed an agreement with the Department of Telecom (DoT) and the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). Under the agreement, Airtel will be offering mobile services in identified uncovered villages and national highways in the North Eastern States of Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh.
Bharti Airtel, in a press statement, released today said it would be set up over 2000 mobile towers/sites in unconnected pockets of the region and deliver telecom connectivity to citizens in over 2100 villages over the next 18 months.
The deployment will also boost connectivity along important National Highways in the region. Airtel would receive close to Rs 1610 crores from the USOF for executing the project.
The telecom infrastructure set up by Airtel will also enable other telecom service providers to offer services in the region, thereby, providing a major fillip to telecom connectivity in the region, which is characterised by tough terrain. "Expanding telecom connectivity will also add to the economic and social development of the region," added Airtel in the press statement.
Commenting on the agreement, Ajai Puri, COO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel said, “Airtel has been leading the expansion of telecom services in North East India, and as the largest operator in these markets, we have gained a deep understanding of the region. This project will provide a massive boost to telecom connectivity in these areas and truly connect them with the rest of India and the world. Customers in these areas can look forward to affordable world-class mobile services very soon.”
Airtel is India's leading telecom operator with a subscriber base of over 280 million, and it is the largest mobile operator in the North Eastern states. Airtel is the only telecom operator providing 2G/3G/4G services in the region. And the move to add more than 2000 mobile towers to the uncovered villages will boost Airtel's network coverage.