Indian mobile market leader Bharti Airtel has launched the first LTE service in the nation’s norther Ladakh region – part of the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) telecom circle. The Economic Times cites the provider as saying that its network teams and partners overcame sub-zero temperatures to deploy 4G to 130 towns and villages in the area, including Kargil, Leh and Dras. The news outlet notes that Dras is the coldest inhabited place in India, and amongst the coldest in the world. In addition to boosting connectivity for residents, the deployment will also serve the numerous tourists that visit the region. Airtel COO Ajai Puri was quoted as saying of the development: ‘This is a major milestone for India and for Airtel. Having pioneered 4G rollout in India, Airtel has been committed to expanding its high-speed data networks to every corner of the country and [contributing] to the government’s Digital India vision. As part of Project Leap, we will continue to channel investments towards building a world class future ready network that touches every Indian.’ TeleGeography notes that Project Leap is the name given to Airtel’s INR600 billion (USD9.3 billion) three-year network development programme, initiated back in November 2015. The initiative includes expansion and upgrade work on the operator’s wireless and fixed networks.
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