Bharti Airtel to expand Tamil Nadu tower count by 30% this year

Bharti Airtel said it will increase the number of its telecom network sites in Tamil Nadu by 30% this year, while expanding its fiber network in the state by 21%.

It said it will add 12,000 new mobile sites, taking the total to 52,000 by March

The fiber capacity will be increased to 17,000 km from 14,000 km at the end of last year.

“This effectively translates to 32 new Airtel mobile sites going LIVE every day across the state,” the company said, adding that it will help it drive high speed data services deeper into rural areas.

The company is engaged into a three-way ‘data land-grab’ with Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea.

All operators are currently focused on getting as many 4G and high-speed data users as they can, without worrying as much about data pricing as they used to.

As a result, the price of wireless data in India is by far the cheapest anywhere in the world.

As against Rs 220 ($3.3) per GB a year and a half ago, data prices in India are currently at around Rs 10 per GB due to fervent competition.

However, Airtel and Vodafone Idea face the hurdle of poor fiber connectivity to their cell sites.

Without fiber connectivity to the cellular tower, it is almost impossible to assure a smooth high-speed data service even if the company deploys the latest 4G technology.

It is estimated that only about 20% of the network sites in India are connected by fiber.

Airtel has 23 million customers in Tamil Nadu and was the first operator to launch 4G services in Tamil Nadu.