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Govt of India to install 8 lakh mobile towers to boost telecom infrastructure

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Work relating to the 5G rollout in India, which is expected to happen later this year, is picking up pace both from the government side as well as from the private telecom companies.

The much-expected 5G spectrum auction is likely to happen sometime between March to June, and the deployment of 5G services at the consumer level in 13 chosen cities in the country is expected on Independence Day. 

Ahead of it, the government is set to install around 8 lakh mobile towers to improve the infrastructure for 5G services.

According to a report, the setting up of these towers, which is expected to happen over the next two years, will more than double the existing number of towers in the country.

The country has around 6.8 lakh towers now, and by the end of the fiscal year 2024, the number is likely to cross the 15 lakh mark, the report said. This will see the density of towers go from 0. 4/1,000 population to 1/1,000 population by the end of March 2024.

Meanwhile, the country’s leading digital company Jio, which has set many stores on the  5G services, is said to have completed its 5G network coverage plan for around 1,000 cities in the country. It is reported to be strengthening its fibre capacity as well as running pilots across sites.

Reliance Jio Infocomm President Kiran Thomas has been quoted as saying that the company is carrying trials on advanced use cases across healthcare and industrial automation on its 5G network.

“We are using the most modern approaches towards network planning, especially 3D maps and ray tracing technology because 5G is a pretty unique technology, which requires very advanced network planning techniques, and we are undertaking that for all of India so that as and when the approvals are received for us to roll out this network, we will be well geared-up to prioritize our rollout, where we can make the maximum contribution,” he said.

Reliance Jio is said to have ended the third quarter which ended December 31 with a net addition of 1.02 crore customers year-on-year (YoY) at 42.1 crores. The subscriber base, however, declined on a quarter-on-quarter basis. It closed the quarter at 421 million subscribers. That was a reduction of 8.4 million. 

Reliance Jio Infocomm, the telecom services arm of Jio Platforms, posted a 9.8% rise in net profit at Rs 3,615 crore for the quarter, compared to Rs 3,291 crore in the year-ago period.

Last month,  Union Minister of Communications Ashwini Vaishnav announced that the 5G spectrum auction would take place in April-May. The actual deployment would be dependent on industry readiness, but the government has expressed interest in launching on Independence Day.

Telecom service providers have asked the government to maintain 5G spectrum pricing low so that the industry can participate fully.

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