Airtel signs expansion MoU

Guwahati: Bharti Airtel, the country's largest telecommunications services provider, has signed an agreement with the department of telecom and the Universal Service Obligation Fund to provide mobile services in identified uncovered villages and national highways in Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh.

Under the agreement which was signed in New Delhi on Saturday, the company will set up over 2,000 mobile towers/sites in unconnected pockets of the region and deliver telecom connectivity to citizens in over 2,100 villages over the next 18 months.

The deployment will also boost connectivity along important national highways. Airtel will receive Rs 1,610 crore from the fund to execute the project.

The telecom infrastructure set up by Airtel will also enable other telecom service providers to offer services in the region, providing a major fillip to telecom connectivity in the region.

Expanding telecom connectivity will also add to the economic and social development of the region.

Ajai Puri, the chief operating officer (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel, said, "Airtel has been leading the expansion of telecom services in the Northeast and as the largest operator in these markets, we have gained deep understanding of the region. This project will provide a massive boost to telecom connectivity in these areas and truly connect them with the rest of India and the world. Customers in these areas can look forward to affordable world-class mobile services very soon."

The Centre in 2014 had approved the implementation of a comprehensive telecom development plan for the Northeast at an estimated expenditure of Rs 5,336.18 crore.

There are 43,200 villages in this region, of which 9,190 (21 per cent) of the villages are unconnected to any mobile network.

Airtel is the largest mobile operator in the Northeast and is the only operator to offer 2G/3G/4G services in the region.

It has made significant investments to expand service availability in the region.


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