himla, Sep 5 (IANS) Mobile major Bharti Airtel launched its mobile services Tuesday in one of the remotest and most inaccessible mountain areas of Himachal Pradesh near the border with Tibet.
The service was launched in the scenic tribal Sangla valley in Kinnaur district, some 250 km from here bordering Tibet. The region is home to the country’s apple and chilgoza pine orchards besides being a destination for foreign and domestic adventure-seeking travellers.
“The launch of the Airtel service will benefit locals, tourists and even the paramilitary and armed forces in this border area,” said Sharlin Thayil, Bharti Airtel chief, Himachal Pradesh, here.
“With this launch, Airtel has spread its network to over 55 towns and locations and some 7,000 villages across the hill state,” Thayil said.
“For ensuring a congestion-free network, the company has now over 500 cell sites all over the state, including those in some of the most inhospitable terrains of the country,” he said.
“For our towers in Sangla valley we’ve had to transport material on mules and ponies as there are no motor-able roads,” said Thayil.
The company would provide mobile services in the adjoining and equally remote Lahaul and Spiti region with the help of satellite technology and not by towers, he said.
“We’ve also just started our high-speed Internet service in Shimla, Baddi, Dharamsala and Mandi towns,” he said.
In view of poor Internet services in the industrial town of Baddi, the company has started an ambitious ‘Wiring up Baddi’ project.
“For the benefit of our customers we have started bundle handset schemes to make available Nokia and Motorola handsets for the economy customers,” he said.
With a customer base of 450,000 in the state, Airtel claims it has over half the mobile customers in the state, while Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) follows close behind. Tata and Reliance are making quick inroads into this fast-growing sector.