Telcos plan Rs 60,000 crore expansion

By SiliconIndia   |   Monday, 30 July 2007, 07:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: As a part of massive expansion of the mobile networks, infrastructure and subscriber numbers, Indian telecom companies are investing over Rs 60,000 crore in 2007-08, reported The Business-Standard.

The money being invested in just 12 months is equivalent to 60 percent of the cumulative investments in their wireless mobile business since the sector was opened up for private investment in 1995.

Presently, 80,000 new towers are in the process of being built across the country, which is almost the double the number of existing towers. Through this by 2007-8, the target is to add around 80 million new mobile subscribers.

T V Ramachandran, Secretary General of Cellular Operators' Association of India told BS that with over seven million customers being added every month and with state-owned BSNL now on track for growth, monthly additions are expected to hit 10 million in the next few months, so that even the conservative 230 million figure could be breached.

Now, Telcos are- following a three-pronged strategy: to double and triple subscriptions in rural areas and small towns, which account for a large part of the new investment, woo new customers in these markets with cheaper entry-level mobile service packs and bundle cheap phones.

Reliance Communications plans to increase its coverage of villages three-fold to 4.5 lakh and of towns by over six times to 25,000 by the end of this financial year. Whereas Bharti Airtel has more than doubled its expansion and coverage in non-census towns and villages from 101,000 in June 2006 to over 2.43 lakh in June this year. According to Hutch executives, they are adding over 1,000 towers every month, of which half are in towns with a population of less than 2 lakh.

As per telecom analysts say that due to the cheaper entry costs the population coverage of mobile services is expected to go up from 55 percent in the last financial year to around 80 percent by the end of this fiscal.

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