The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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AirTel eyes more of city cell pie

Calcutta, Nov. 29: Bharti Mobitel Ltd, which owns the AirTel cellular brand in the city, has set an ambitious target to double the number of its customers from the existing 1.7 lakh.

AirTel chief executive officer Deepak Gulati said the company has made a substantial investment since its take over of Spice Telecom in November last year in order to revamp infrastructure.

“In the first year, we had a very hard task to put a quality network in place. Now we are sweating it out to double the number of subscribers in Calcutta,” he said.

Gulati said the company had invested Rs 110 crore in its network expansion.

“When Bharti took over Spice, there were merely 64 base stations put up by the erstwhile promoters. Now we have 180 base stations which can cater to every part of the city with ease,” Gulati said.

The AirTel CEO has also noted that the target is to make AirTel available in whole of the circle where Calcutta Telephones is present.

“With a wide network supported by an advanced 2.5G technology, we can handle traffic without any problem. Now our major task is to beef up the capacities of our base stations in areas with high density,” he said.

Gulati claimed that AirTel has made 51 per cent net additions in October. “The way we are adding value to our services, we are very optimistic about a phenomenal growth in subscriber base,” he said.

Besides various value added services, the roaming facilities offered by the company have also attracted subscribers.

“Today AirTel subscribers in Calcutta pay local tariffs while roaming on any other AirTel network across the 15 circles,” he said adding “AirTel currently provides the largest roaming service to customers in the city covering 700 cities in India and in over 80 international locations.”

AirTel also recently launched instant connectivity for new customers through pre-activated SIM cards. Customers will now be able to walk into any of the 100 AirTel shops to get instant connections, Gulati said.

It will allow customers to make STD/ISD calls without paying additional deposits.

Moreover, AirTel has launched the powerful 32K SIM card that provides a customised menu coupled with enhanced memory and storage capacity. It also offers a range of services for information and entertainment covering news, stock, railways enquiry and astrology, Gulati said.

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