Bharti Airtel to invest $9 billion to upgrade network
Bharti Airtel plans to invest 600 billion rupees ($8.98 billion) over the next three years to upgrade its network in a bid to improve voice and data quality.
The bulk of the so-called Project Leap investment will go towards building infrastructure, laying fibre optic cables and improving network signal in congested areas. This is in addition to the 1.6 trillion rupees it has invested into spectrum, submarine cables and fibre.
Competition in India’s telecoms industry is to increase as Airtel – owned by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani – looks set to launch its 4G service by the end of the year.
"We are confident that ‘Project Leap’ will help Airtel build a smart and dynamic network that will significantly improve the quality of both voice and data services across the length and breadth of the country,” said Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO of Bharti Airtel. “More importantly we are excited to share the 'Project Leap' plan with each of our customers in their specific locality. This we believe will help us serve our customers with transparency and clarity.”
By March 2016, over 60% of its network will be mobile broadband enabled and more than 160,000 base stations will be deployed in the next three years, doubling its presence in the country.
The operator also aims to modernise its network by upgrading its copper assets with vectoring technology to enable speeds of 50Mbps by 2016 as well as deploy optical fibre to homes with speeds of up to 100Mbps.