During the last year telcos added telecom infrastructure worth around Rs 9,000 crores, in a year cut short by the pandemic.
Boost to Telecom Infrastructure Despite the Pandemic
SP Kochhar, DG, COAI, noted that the telcos spent the astronomical sum of money on getting telecom sites up and laying crucial optical fiber cables. He also said that the industry is fully-equipped for any challenges and will ensure highest possible network uptime.
Kochhar further said that telcos also acquired additional spectrum in the recently-concluded auction. This will further improve network quality and coverage, no doubt.
“The telecom industry has kept the nation connected over its digital backbone since the onset of the pandemic,” Kochhar added.
Surge in Demand for Telecom Industry
After WFH became the norm last year, telecom networks have recorded as much as 33% increase in data consumption. As such, telcos and telecom infrastructure companies have done all they can to make sure connectivity does not suffer.
Notably, in March, DoT has assigned 855.60 MHz of airwaves sold to the telecom operators in March. A frequency harmonization exercise followed the spectrum auction. This was also a step to further solidify the network. DoT said that the waves that were allocated in this auction were the ones where telcos already held spectrum. According to experts, this step would lead to spectrum efficiency and improved service quality.
As per Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association, TAIPA, during the February 2020 – April 21, 2021 period, telcos deployed 69,448 new mobile towers. Furthermore, from September 2019 to March 2021, telcos laid down a total 2,47,550 kilometers of optical fiber cables.
TR Dua, DG, TAIPA, put down the surge in data use to four crucial use cases. He mentioned e-Services, OTT platforms, e-Commerce and e-Governance as the said use cases. He also added that digitization was more of a necessity than a choice.
TAIPA is monitoring critical infrastructure expansion and facilitating new deployments, while also coordinating with state governments.
Notably, last week, TAIPA sought DoT to intervene to allow unrestricted movement of ground staff for telecom tower sites. This included engineers and technicians for routine operations, maintenance, and diesel refueling.