Idea Cellular, country's third-largest telecom operator, today said it plans to invest over Rs 550 crore in Uttar Pradesh over the next two years to deepen its penetration and increase Internet connectivity.
"In the next two years, we are committed to invest over Rs 550 crore in the state," Idea Cellular's Managing Director Himanshu Kapania announced at an investors' conclave organised by the UP government here. He said Idea's current investment in UP stands at Rs 4,400 crore.
"Out of the total investment of Rs 42,000 crore that Idea has made across the country, 11 per cent of the investment has come to UP," he said. Currently, Idea is present in 82 per cent of UP, covering over 85,000 towns and villages and plans to increase its reach to 95 per cent of the population, he added.
Around 14 per cent of the voice minutes generated by Idea comes out of UP, he further said. "In terms of Internet coverage, currently, we cover about 15 per cent of the state and we expect that we will be able to provide Internet to 85 per cent of the state," he added.
He sought UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's support in opening up government properties to set up mobile towers. "We need to put up large number towers and for that we want to open up government properties for setting up of towers," Kapania said.
He also requested the state government for formulating a prudent Right-of-Way (RoW) policy in order to increase the Internet connectivity.
"If you want to reach Internet to every nook and corner of UP, we have to put up fibre and we are requesting the UP government to issue a forward-looking RoW policy, which is currently pending across most states. We are hoping this state would be on the forefront in supporting us," he added.