Mumbai-based mobile operator Idea Cellular has launched commercial GSM-based services in Chennai, according to the Economic Times. The launch comes as part of the operator’s plans to expand its GSM infrastructure across the country, and follows on from a launch in Tamil Nadu in May 2009. Idea expects its EDGE-enabled network to cover more than 500 towns and villages in the Chennai circle by the end of this financial year. Commenting on the launch Sanjeev Aga, Idea’s managing director, Idea Cellular said: ‘Chennai is a strategic market for Idea, and we are happy to launch our services in this metro city. This not only provides us a platform to further strengthen our market position in the south, but is also a key milestone in our national rollout plan.’
Idea has previously detailed plans to construct 2,400 cell sites covering around 1,200 towns across the Tamil Nadu and Chennai circles by the end of March 2010. It aims to launch in four other circles – Calcutta, West Bengal, North East and Jammu & Kashmir – by December 2009, and complete its pan-India rollout by March 2010.
In separate but related news Idea has also revealed that its shareholders have given approval to demerge its passive infrastructure to its wholly owned subsidiary Idea Cellular Towers Infrastructure.