Sponsored By

India's Jio, Airtel to provide 4G services in unconnected villages

A total of 7,287 villages are expected to benefit in 44 Aspirational Districts across Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Odisha.

Gagandeep Kaur

June 1, 2022

2 Min Read
India's Jio, Airtel to provide 4G services in unconnected villages

The government has allocated a sum of INR3.7 billion (US$475 million) to provide 4G services in Indian villages that are so far unconnected, according to media reports.

While the country is moving closer to the launch of 5G services later this year, some areas still lack basic connectivity.

The project is funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) at an estimated cost of about INR6.5 billion ($833 million), including five years of operational expenses.

Figure 1: A total of 7,287 villages are expected to benefit in 44 Aspirational Districts across Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Odisha. (Source: Per Bengston/Alamy Stock Photo) A total of 7,287 villages are expected to benefit in 44 Aspirational Districts across Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Odisha.
(Source: Per Bengston/Alamy Stock Photo)

This is a pot collected by charging a 5% universal service charge from telecom service providers on their adjusted gross revenue. It is used to improve communications infrastructure in areas with no or poor connectivity.

High hopes

The project was approved by the Union Cabinet in 2021, and is set to provide high-speed 4G services in unconnected villages in the Aspirational Districts of five states. The Aspirational District program was launched by the Indian government to fast-track development in the 112 most under-developed districts in the country.

A total of 7,287 villages are expected to benefit in 44 Aspirational Districts across Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Odisha.

Surprisingly, the project has been handed over to the top two private service providers, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel. They will need to complete the deployment within 18 months – by November 2023.

Want to know more? Sign up to get our dedicated newsletters direct to your inbox.

Bharti Airtel will set up 1,083 mobile towers in the states of Jharkhand and Maharashtra for INR8.5 billion ($109.4 million). Meanwhile, Reliance Jio will receive INR2.8 billion ($36.5 million) to install 3,696 towers.

However, it is possible that the government decided to ignore state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) because the operator is still to launch 4G services.

BSNL's 4G launch is delayed because the government banned it from using foreign gear, and asked Indian companies to develop an indigenous 4G solution in line with its Atmanirbhar (self-reliance) policy.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a renewed focus on providing connectivity to rural and remote areas.

Related posts:

— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Gagandeep Kaur

Contributing Editor

With more than a decade of experience, Gagandeep Kaur Sodhi has worked for the most prominent Indian communications industry publications including Dataquest, Business Standard, The Times of India, and Voice&Data, as well as for Light Reading. Delhi-based Kaur, who has knowledge of and covers a broad range of telecom industry developments, regularly interacts with the senior management of companies in India's telecom sector and has been directly responsible for delegate and speaker acquisition for prominent events such as Mobile Broadband Summit, 4G World India, and Next Generation Packet Transport Network.

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like