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Telecom services unaffected by lockdown in May

Telecom services have so far been unaffected during the lockdown in May, barring in West Bengal and Odisha. Users have been able to recharge connections and towers have not recorded any downtime.

The country has a total of 5.93-lakh telecom towers and about 1.1 billion SIM connections across three private operators and two State-run companies.

Timely recharge

“With the opening up of retail outlets across the country, mobile phone users were able to recharge their connections and make outgoing calls during the month. We also didn’t get any complaint, from operators or users, in May,” Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) Director-General Rajan S Mathews told BusinessLine.

“Nearly 97 percent of the total 1.1 billion SIMs are pre-paid connections, and data suggests that all of them are being recharged,” Mathews added.

This was not the condition till May, with many retail showrooms shut down, when nearly 100 million mobile users were unable to recharge their pre-paid connections during the lockdown period.

India, the cheapest telecom market in the world, has about 350 million feature phone users.

However, due to the super cyclone Amphan, about 10,000 towers in West Bengal and Odisha were impacted.

Restored after cyclone

“More than 95 percent of the network of private telecom service providers has been restored in major of the areas of West Bengal and Kolkata,” TR Dua, Director-General of Tower & Infrastructure Providers’ Association (TAIPA), said.

“The telecom tower companies continue to play an important role in ongoing economic activities. Be it banking, e-commerce, IT, education, Health etc, all are able to work due to the availability of telecom networks,” he added.

Before the cyclone, TAIPA had requested Chief Secretaries and the Department of Telecommunications to support infrastructure providers by ensuring availability of diesel, unrestricted movement for field staff, permission for Cell on Wheels installations and to restore electricity connection on a priority basis among others.

—The Hindu Business Line

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