Reliance Jio is expected to roll out 4G services in the city by end-March next year, senior officials of the company said on Tuesday after signing an agreement with the city civic authorities that allows the company to lay underground cables.
Airtel, the other telecom service provider with permission to provide 4G connection in Bengal, is expected to sign a deal with the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) on Thursday. A source in the company said services are likely to be launched across the city by the year-end.
“We signed the deal with Reliance officials on Tuesday. On Thursday, we will sign the deal with Airtel if everything goes according to plan,” said Atin Ghosh, the mayoral council member (engineering).
While the Mukesh Ambani-led company will lay cables under 700km of roads, Sunil Bharti Mittal’s Airtel will lay cables under 1,000km of roads.
The cables with be laid using a technology that ensures minimum digging.
To lay cables under roads maintained by other agencies such as the PWD and the CMDA, separate deals will have to be signed. The state government has issued a notification asking these agencies to grant approval to the companies for laying 4G cables, said a senior official of the CMC.
“We expect to roll out services in Calcutta by the first quarter of 2014,” said Tarun Jhunjhunwala, business head, eastern zone, Reliance Jio, who signed the deal on behalf of the company.
The civic body, sources said, is likely to earn around Rs 26 crore from the Reliance project. The CMC is charging the companies a token licence fee of Re 1, but the companies have to pay for road restoration and other taxes.