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Airtel & Vodafone move to boost network quality

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With the threat of losing customers to rivals looming large as introduction of mobile number portability (MNP) nears, easing network congestion in urban centres has become a priority for telecom firms. Telecom firms are looking to tackle connectivity inside buildings since about 50% of calls originate and terminate inside buildings. Bharti Airtel, for instance, has stepped up deployment of in-building solutions (IBS) for better connectivity inside building.

Airtel source, who did not wish to be named as Airtel is in the silent period, said the measure is being adopted to ease the growing network congestion.“We found through an internal survey that half of our calls in urban areas such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and others originate and terminate inside buildings. That is why we are focusing on improving connectivity within buildings. Every month, we are setting up 40-50 IBS in Mumbai alone,” the source said.

According to an estimate, the company has spent about Rs 150 crore to install over 850 IBS in the Maharashtra and Mumbai circles. So far, Airtel has covered most malls, complexes, hotels and corporate houses in Mumbai. In the next phase, it will roll out IBS in other metros and urban areas.
Industry estimates put customer migration between telecom firms at about 5%. Analysts expect this figure to exceed 10% once the MNP policy is sanctioned by the government. MNP allows a subscriber to retain a mobile phone number while switching to another service provider.

Another telecom major Vodafone is also focusing on setting up IBS to ‘optimise spectrum usage. Vodafone spokesperson said “IBS is not new to us. We have deployed them since we started operations”

In a recent Telecom Regulatory Authority of India report, Vodafone Essar’s was found to be the second most congested network after Airtel.

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