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Telcos spend Rs 9,000-crore on connectivi­ty infrastruc­ture during pandemic


Following the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, telecom majors such as Bharti airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio have together spent as much as Rs 9,000 crores in improving network infrastruc­ture over the past year. SP Kochhar, Director-general, Cellular Operators associatio­n of India (COAI), recently, said, “Nearly Rs 9,000-crore has been spent by telecom service providers in putting telecom sites and laying optic fibre cable since last one year.” He further added that the industry is “fully prepared to serve the evolving needs of customers” and ensure highest possible network uptime. The Delhibased telecom industry body represents incumbent operators as well as multinatio­nal technology vendors such as Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei, Cisco and Juniper. Kochhar also said that telecom operators have also acquired additional spectrum in the recently-concluded auction, and the deployment of the new or additional spectrum would further enhance network capacity.

Early last month, the Department of Telecommun­ications (DOT) assigned 855.60 mhz of airwaves sold to the telecom operators in march auction across the 800 mhz, 900 mhz, 1800 mhz, 2100 mhz, and 2300 mhz bands, accompanie­d by a frequency harmonisat­ion exercise. The department, however, said that the radiowaves allocation was made contiguous with the spectrum blocks already held by service providers wherever possible, that according to experts would lead to spectrum efficiency and improving service quality. Following the remote work culture adopted by private and public companies in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak since last year, the telecom networks have witnessed up to 33% data consumptio­n surge while telecom operators and infrastruc­ture companies have left no stone unturned to ensure seamless connectivi­ty. “The telecom industry has kept the nation connected over its digital backbone since the onset of the pandemic,” Kochhar added. During the February 2020 - april 21, 2021 period, telecom companies and their infrastruc­ture partners have deployed as many as 69,448 new mobile towers, according to the Delhi-based Tower and Infrastruc­ture Providers associatio­n (TAIPA). ■

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