State-owned telecoms operator Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) has announced plans to invest INR4 billion (USD61.6 million) in the installation and commissioning of around 1,800 new mobile towers in Delhi over the next eight to ten months. The Economic Times cites MTNL Chairman and MD PK Purwar as saying 450 of the new sites have already been installed and are currently undergoing testing, and should be phased in over the next month. The official added that the company is expecting to add around 100 towers a month in the metro circle to remedy coverage and connections problems faced by its customers. Alongside the network expansion, the operator will roll out an HSPA+ upgrade to its 3G network, boosting peak download speeds from 3.6Mbps to 21Mbps.
When quizzed on how MTNL would fund the expansion work given its poor financial condition – the provider having reported steadily widening net losses, reaching INR8.2 billion in the three months ended 31 December 2016 from INR7.7 billion and INR7.2 billion in the preceding two quarters – Mr Purwar explained: ‘We are taking [a] loan from the banks, and the project cost is already tied up … so financing for the expansion is not a constraint.’