“Idea added nearly 50,000 broadband sites over the last 12 months period ending August ’17, growing its broadband footprint to cover 5,888 Census towns and nearly 105,755 villages, reaching out to 45% population of the country,” the company said.
It said it has been able to increase the length of its optical fibre network to 1.5 lakh route kms.
The moves are aimed at countering Reliance Jio. Against Idea’s 1.3 lakh 3G and 4G towers, the Mukesh Ambani-led company has an estimated 2.5 lakh 4G cell sites.
“Idea plans to continue the rapid rollout of its pan-India wireless broadband network throughout FY18 with a capex of Rs. 6,000 Cr,” it added.
“Achieving a footprint of 2.6 lakh sites is a major milestone in Idea’s network growth journey – 50% of these sites are broadband,” said Anil Tandan, Chief Technology Officer, Idea Cellular.
“With aggressive capex infusion 1 lakh sites have been erected by Idea in the last 2 years, and we will continue to invest in expanding our wireless broadband capacity to enable the company’s Digital Idea plans.”
It is likely that when the company merges with Vodafone, likely early next year, the combined entity will have more 3G and 4G sites compared to Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel.
“Idea’s 4G coverage has penetrated into the deep interiors of the country with villages having a population of 1,000 getting connected with ‘India’s Big 4G network’. Idea has also recorded 4G coverage in certain rural parts of the country where population is below 100 people,” the company said.
The Aditya Birla Group firm was seen as the weakest among the top three operators when it came to wireless broadband. However, over the last one year, the company has reportedly caught up with, or even beaten, No.2 operator Vodafone in India.