The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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AirTel eyes 50 lakh users in Calcutta by March

Calcutta, Sept. 10: AirTel plans to increase its subscriber base in Calcutta to 50 lakh within six months. The company has lined up an extensive marketing and promotional campaign for the purpose.

“Our aim is to make mobile phones a way of life for the masses by exceeding the number of fixed line connections in the city by September 2004,” said Manoj Kohli, president, mobility, Bharti Tele-Ventures.

“GSM connections in the city have grown by 85 per cent in the last 12 months, whereas landline connections have increased a negligible 2 per cent,” he added.

The service provider has over 2.6 lakh subscribers in the city and 44 lakh users in the national level.

AirTel will announce new schemes in the pre-paid and post-paid segments. “We want to offer a value proposition by lowering the entry barrier in both the segments, improving customer service and providing quality service through a world-class network,” Kohli added.

AirTel plans to have 300 cell sites by December and will invest around Rs 50 crore by March. “We have already invested Rs 75 crore in the last six months. The total investment has gone up to Rs 600 crore since AirTel came to the city,” CEO of Bharti Cellular Deepak Gulati said.

“We also plan to direct a significant volume of national and international long distance (ILD) voice traffic through the cellular route,” said Kohli.

Bharti has invested Rs 2000 crore in its ILD network and provides connectivity through the 30,000 km optical fibre connecting Chennai and Singapore. “The ILD traffic has already doubled last week when Rs 9.99 per minute was offered for calls made to the US and Canada.”

While a STD from a fixed line to another fixed line is priced at Rs 4.80 per minute, a mobile-to-mobile national long distance call costs Rs 1.99 per minute.

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