Berhampur: State-run telecom major BSNL's Odisha Circle is on an expansion mode with plans to add five lakh more mobile phone connections in the state by March 2014 at an investment of Rs 100 crore, company sources said.
At present, Odisha telecom circle has around 42 lakh mobile telephone connections with around 2,100 towers across the state.
The expansion plan was stalled for last four years due to certain reasons, including non-availability of equipment for setting up of the towers, BSNL officials said.
"We have already placed purchase order for new mobile equipment in the month of June. Delivery of equipment is likely to start from October," said General Manager (Mobile) Balaram Pal.
Though the exact number of towers to be installed in the state was yet to be calculated, the expansion plan is estimated to cost around Rs 100 crore, BSNL sources said.
BSNL mobile services covered all 314 block headquarter towns and across the National Highways in the state at present, sources added.
The expansion plan proposes to extend the 3G services in more number of towns in the state. Presently 3G services were available in 48 towns in the state, including three towns - Berhampur, Paralakhemundi and Chhatrapur - in Berhampur telecom district.
Pal, who is also in-charge of the General manager in Berhampur telecom district, said 3G services were planned to be extended to towns like Aska, Bhanjanagar, Hinjili in Ganjam district during this year.
Similarly, BSNL also planned to commence 51 mobile towers in Berhampur telecom district, sources said.
In Berhampur telecom district, consisting of Ganjam and Gajapati revenue districts, has around 4.50 lakh mobile connections out of the total 42 lakh connections in Odisha.
The landline connection in the district, however, was drastically reduced. The number of landline phones, which was around 34,500 in August 2011 now stood at 26,563 in Berhampur as against the exchange capacity of about 66,000 connections.
"The phenomenon is not only confined to Berhampur, but is experienced across the country," Pal said, adding, the advent of mobile services was probably one of the reasons for the customers moving away from plain old telecom services (POTS), known as landline services.
First Published: Friday, August 2, 2013, 15:22