The telecom sector has added 65,000 mobile towers in the past two years but industry estimates suggest that at least 100,000 more are needed to overcome service quality issues and to cater to the massive data growth.
“Telecom industry installs 6.34 lakh new Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) and 65,000 new mobile towers between November 2016 and November 2018,” the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said in a statement on Thursday.
The Delhi-based association represents Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm and Vodafone Idea.
However, industry estimates suggest that at least 100,000 more mobile towers are needed in the next couple of years with the onset of fifth-generation (5G) technology-based services and to cater to an active subscriber base of more than a billion consumers.
Recently, Bharti Infratel chairman Akhil Gupta said that as the country was preparing for preparing for 5G, it would require a massive infrastructure with at least 100,000 new towers.
According to the industry body, Maharashtra has the maximum number of 163,773 BTS units followed by Andhra Pradesh with 149,901 BTSs and Karnataka with 141,353 BTSs.
In 2016, telcos had committed to adding 60,000 BTSs in a 100-day programme after telecom minister Manoj Sinha’s intervention.
COAI director general Rajan S Mathews said “We are happy to witness the significant enhancement of the national telecom infrastructure with growth in the number of BTSs, which will directly impact connectivity across the country”.