Telcos plan ‘Cells on Wheels’ to ramp up internet services

KOLKATA: Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio Infocomm could roll out ‘cells on wheels’ (CoWs) to ease community congestion amid an upsurge in house web and video providers consumption due to lockdowns.

A CoW website is a chunk of passive infrastructure on which base stations and antennae could be mounted and rapidly wheeled for beefing up capability and protection in a locality going through community congestion. Telcos will search approvals from native municipalities to press CoWs into motion solely after the telecom division clears further spectrum allocations to handle the information consumption surge.

A Vodafone Idea spokesperson mentioned the corporate is deploying capacities throughout (India) utilizing all means, together with “addition of CoW sites” wherever applicable. “We have also requested DoT to clear our pending applications for spectrum allocation and are hopeful it will expedite our spectrum liberalisation requests and regularise our backhaul spectrum as well,” the spokesperson added.

Rajan Mathews, director normal of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), mentioned telcos would shortly have interaction with tower infrastructure companions to map places seeing a sudden surge in house web consumption.

Mathews mentioned phone corporations are awaiting the federal government’s go-ahead on the trade’s further spectrum wants earlier than setting Operation CoWs into movement. The COAI represents Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea. “We’ve written to telecom secretary Anshu Prakash seeking additional short-term allocations of both access spectrum, primarily in the 1800 Mhz band, as well as backhaul airwaves in the E and V bands,” Mathews informed ET.

“Telcos will seek approvals from local municipalities for swiftly deploying the CoWs after DoT clears the additional spectrum requested…operators are in talks with tower partners and gear vendors to ensure adequate base stations, antennae are available for this,” Mathews added.

“Internet consumption is bound to rise and a judicious deployment of CoWs would not only handle surges in data consumption, but even potentially induce mobile users to sign up for bigger mobile/home broadband plans, boosting average revenue per user ,” Rajiv Sharma, analysis head at SBICap Securities, informed ET.

Sanjay Kapoor, ex-CEO of Bharti Airtel, mentioned in contrast to regular mobile towers, which might take ages to put in as they entail a number of approvals, civil work, tenancy points, CoW websites could be deployed quick to handle any sudden jumps in voice/knowledge visitors.

At press time, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio didn’t reply to ET’s request for remark.

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