Bharti Airtel will double its number of telephone towers to 80,000 by March 2008, company chairman, Sunil Bharti Mittal said on Tuesday at the Confederation of Indian Industry Marketing Summit 2007.
Doubling the towers is Bharti's bid to increase its rural reach and garner substantial market share in a largely untapped rural market.
At present Bharti Airtel is the market leader with over 30 per cent share of Global System for Mobile (GSM) connections mainly in the urban areas of the country.
"It (installation of 40,000 additional towers by 2008) will be the biggest infrastructure rollout in the present times. Physical rollout of infrastructure especially in rural areas is time consuming due to constraints," Mittal said.
Mittal said about 65 per cent of the country's population currently lived in places covered by wireless access and by March 2008 about 90 per cent or 600,000 villages across the country will be powered. "Most of these will be in remote rural areas as rural telephony is the new mantra," Mittal said.