Bharti Airtel has signed an agreement with the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) to connect 2,100 uncovered villages in the North Eastern states of Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh.
Under the agreement, Airtel will set up over 2,000 mobile towers/sites in over 2,100 unconnected villages over the next 18 months. Airtel would receive approximately Rs. 1,610 crores from the USOF for executing the project.
The telecom infrastructure set up by Airtel will also enable other telecom service providers to offer services in the region, thereby, providing major fillip to telecom connectivity in the region, which is characterized by tough terrain. Expanding telecom connectivity will also add to the economic and social development of the region.
Commenting on the agreement, Ajai Puri, COO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel said, “Airtel has been leading the expansion of telecom services in North East India 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.”
Airtel is the largest mobile operator in the North Eastern states and is the only operator to offer 2G/3G/4G services in the region. The company has made significant investments to expand service availability in the region.