Roam while you pray

By : |September 20, 2007 0

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Mobile operators are betting on pilgrim centers to offer seamless connectivity, as these centers bring bountiful revenues.

Most of the operators have invested to set up additional Base Transmission Stations (BTS) at the pilgrimage places to meet the peak traffic during seasons. With the mobile wireless industry adding around eight million subscribers, today two out of every ten in India have a mobile, driving the voice as well as the data traffic.

To meet the demand of connectivity and reduce the congestion in the mobile traffic during the Haj, Huawei had deployed mobile soft switch solution on the Saudi Telecom network.

According to estimates around three million pilgrims, including approximately two million mobile subscribers, gather within an area of 10 square kms inside Mecca.

Some of these could reach density of up to 1.8 million subscribers per square kilometer. In 2006 the total traffic volume borne by Saudi Telecom network increased 30 per cent over 2005, with peak traffic volume recorded increased19 times. However, the short messages increased 137 times.

Operators in India are also initiating to offer connectivity in the pilgrim centers, with additional BTSs. Pilgrim centers like Amarnath, Vaishno Devi, Jagannath temple, Shirdi, Tirupati are some of the examples where the operators have invested in setting up BTSs to offer easy connectivity during peak seasons.

According to reports, 80 per cent of India’s pilgrimage destinations are situated in rural areas. The Ministry of Communications and IT has been focusing on connecting the rural areas by offering Universal Service Obligation (USO) funding for setting up connectivity in those areas.

However, this has also helped operators to add more revenues to their cart with the influx of foreign tourist roaming in the local network.

According to the tourism ministry, foreign tourist arrivals increased from 3.92 million in 2005 to 4.43 million in 2006, an increase of 14.2 per cent.

Despite several defence clearances, majority of operators has set up their own network to facilitate its subscribers to roam within the home network in Jammu and Kashmir, which is one of the pilgrimage destinations for the Amarnath and Vaishno Devi devotees.

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