Idea Cellular, country’s third-largest telecom operator, Thursday said it plans to invest over Rs. 550 crores in Uttar Pradesh over the next two years to deepen its penetration and increase Internet connectivity.
“In the next two years, we are committed to invest over Rs 550 crores in the state,” Idea Cellular’s Managing Director Himanshu Kapania announced at an investors’ conclave organised by the UP government in Mumbai. He said Idea’s current investment in UP stands at Rs. 4,400 crores.
“Out of the total investment of Rs. 42,000 crores that Idea has made across the country, 11 percent of the investment has come to UP,” he said. Currently, Idea is present in 82 percent of UP, covering over 85,000 towns and villages and plans to increase its reach to 95 percent of the population, he added.
Around 14 percent of the voice minutes generated by Idea comes out of UP, he further said. “In terms of Internet coverage, currently, we cover about 15 percent of the state and we expect that we will be able to provide Internet to 85 percent of the state,” he added.
He sought UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s support in opening up government properties to set up mobile towers. “We need to put up large number towers and for that we want to open up government properties for setting up of towers,” Kapania said.
He also requested the state government for formulating a prudent Right-of-Way (RoW) policy in order to increase the Internet connectivity. “If you want to reach Internet to every nook and corner of UP, we have to put up fibre and we are requesting the UP government to issue a forward-looking RoW policy, which is currently pending across most states. We are hoping this state would be on the forefront in supporting us,” he added.