Millennium Post

MTNL to invest Rs400 cr for 1,800 towers; project debt tied up

State-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd plans to invest Rs 400 crore for installing and commissioning 1,800 mobile towers over the next 8-10 months to improve coverage and data speeds for its subscribers.

The loss-making telecom corporation said it has lined up the financing for the project from banks.

"MTNL is taking up many network expansion initiatives. We are going to expand 1,800 sites in Delhi in the next 8-10 months," MTNL Chairman and Managing Director P K Purwar said.

The new towers, nearly 450 which are already installed and will undergo testing, are set to be commissioned from next month onwards in a phased manner, he added.
"We will be expanding at the rate of over 100 towers every month in some months it will be more...We already have 800 towers in Delhi...many a times our subscribers face coverage issues or weak signals. The new towers and sites would enable better coverage and data speeds for our 3G customers," he said.

The network upgrade means that instead of the current 3.6 mbps, subscribers will get 21 mbps speeds, Purwar pointed out.

MTNL customers will, therefore, get better experience both in terms of voice and data, from next month, he added.

Asked how the company was planning to fund the project given its current financial position, Purwar said the total cost of the project is Rs 400 crore for which the company has tied up debt from banks.

"We are taking loan from the banks and the project cost is already tied financing for the expansion is not a constraint," he said. MTNL on February 14 reported widening of its standalone net loss to Rs 819.96 crore, surpassing its total revenue, during the three-month period ended December 31, hit by increase in finance cost.
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