News Details

News Details

Bharti Tele has highest GSM mobile tower in Leh region

Economic Times, Mumbai
Tuesday, April 25, 2006

THE Line of Control (LoC) may soon be spelt to mean the Line of Communication. Telcos are setting up base stations in villages that are 3 km to 5 km from the LoC to meet the growing demand.
 
BSNL has put up 415 sites across J&K, out of which around 30 are in villages close to the LoC in Poonch, Baramulla, Kupwara, Doda and other areas. “BSNL is planning to set up another 95 towers in the next six months to meet the growing demand in J&K,” said Vineet Sirpaul, vice-president of business development, Nutek.
 
Nutek, subcontractors for Nokia and Ericsson, is setting up the BSNL network in the region. According to industry sources, Bharti Tele-Ventures has around 300 sites in J&K while Dishnet Wireless, which offers GSM mobile telephony under the brand name of Aircel (recently acquired by Malaysian company Maxis), has 190 cell sites.
 
Besides BSNL, Bharti, which operates under the brand name of Airtel, also provides services in Leh. It has set up the highest GSM mobile tower at 11,645 ft in the country at Qutak Gompa in the Leh region. Bharti plans to double the number of cell sites by the end of the year.
 
Sources said Hutchison Essar is also keen to enter Jammu & Kashmir. However, putting up telecom infrastructure in these areas is not an easy task. “We could put up antennas and other equipment only at night in militancy prone areas like Rajouri and Poonch. Firing during day time prevented any work and even at night, labourers have to often stop work due to security risks,” said a telecom company official.
 
Risks notwithstanding, residents are keen to own cellphones. “The waiting list for BSNL mobile connections in border villages of J&K is running into thousands. When residents come to know a mobile tower is being set up, they come to help officials in the hope of getting faster connections,” said the official.