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Airtel to spend Rs 3800 million in Karnataka by March 2006

BANGALORE: Airtel today announced ambitious growth plans for Karnataka. This includes around Rs 1 billion spends on obsolesce replacement, increasing network from the existing 360 towns to touch 730 towns and hence reach out approximately 45 per cent of Karnataka’s population

 

Airtel executive director-South regional hub – mobility Atul Bindal made these announcements among others at Bangalore during a press conference today.

 

By the end of this financial year, Airtel will set up an additional 600 cell sites across the state to bring the total number up from the existing 1200 to 1800 approximately. A breakup of the existing cell sites and the growth figures for various zones revealed by Bharati Televentures Karnataka COO Deepak Mehrotra showed that the Bangalore zone, which had 53 cell sites would grow by another 34; North Karnataka represented by Hubli-Dharwad Zone would add another 194 cell sites to the existing 178, hence more than doubling the number for that zone; Mangalore Zone would add 57 sites to the existing 74 and another 75 cell sites would be added to the existing 57 in the Mysore zone, hence also more than doubling the number of sites there.

 

Airtel claims that these initiatives would achieve more double the reach offered by any of their competitors.

Bindal also revealed that Bharati has recently signed agreements to outsource its call center operations to four international BPO’s, viz: Hinduja TMT, IBM, Daksh, Mphasis and TeleTech Services to help significantly enhance quality of customer service delivery to customers across the country. Then all-ecncompassing agreements are aimed towards maintenance, quality assurance, advanced and capacity expansion of Airtel Call Centers. For Bangalore Mphasis has set up the contact center.

He also announced that Airtel has moved towards setting up a ‘Future Factory’ in Bangalore where a dedicated team would work to systematically explore innovation and development of path breaking applications for mobile customers in India. Some of the applications that would be looked into include 3G, Mobile entertainment and multimedia applications.

Under the Mobile Commerce development program, it would drive applications that use mobile phone as a payment instrument for ticketing, money transfer and other commerce transactions. A recent initiative Wireless Business Solutions (WBS) development program will focus on delivery of new application on Blackberry, E-mail, Sales Force Automation and enterprise applications.

The rural program will focus on developing applications to make mobile telephony more relevant to that segment..

Stating that Karnataka with Bangalore having more than a 50 per cent of their 1.5 million subscriber base, was either first or second, depending on the attributes looked and one of the three fastest growing circles in the country, Bindal said that the Indian cell market scene stood where it did in China five years ago in 2005.

Airtel-Mobile in Karnataka spends over Rs 100 million towards marketing according to Airtel GM-marketing G V Krishnan. Rediffusion handles the creative and media business. Mehrotra also revealed that Airtel Karnataka spends around 5 per cent revenues towards local events including C&S, another 3 per cent is spent by their head quarters, with 2 per cent more being spends on ground events, hence a net figure of around 10 per cent revenue spends. Both refused to reveal the exact figures, except that they spend more than another player in the market.

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