3 Jan : The country’s third largest telecom player in GSM arena, Idea Cellular, has announced its plans to invest Rs 300 crore in the next 15 months to grow its business in Karnataka."We will be making an investment of Rs 300 crore in the next 15 months on network in the state," Idea Managing Director Sanjeev Aga told reporters at Bangalore on Monday.
Idea Cellular, which had recently acquired Spice Communications (paving its entry into two telecom circles Karnataka and Punjab), would build on the current over 14 lakh subscriber base of Spice in Karnataka.
Idea, part of the Aditya Birla Group, hopes to increase its 40 percent coverage of the 57.3 million population in the state to 78 percent by March 2010, Aga said.
With this launch Idea is the third largest private GSM players with over 36 million subscribers. Idea planned to begin operations in Orissa and Tamil Nadu and have a pan-India presence in the next 12 months, he said.
Announcing an expansion plan in small towns and rural areas, state and national highways and rail routes in Karnataka, Idea Director (Operations) Himanshu Kapania said the company planned to increase its coverage from current 3,410 to 11,200 towns and villages by March 2010 in the state.
Idea planned to offer one stop shop for all telecom services through 27,000 retail outlets and 1200 Direct Sales team.With the launch of Idea in Karnataka, mobile users in the state could avail of richer experience in voice chats, instant messenger, multimedia messages high speed video downloads and other Internet based multi-media experiences on their `EDGE-enabled’ mobile phones, Himanshu said.
Idea’s 2.75g capable and 3G ready core network would provide for all future technological enhancements, he said.
On the products being offered by Idea in Karnataka, he said prepaid consumers could now avail of Idea’s My Gang plan for 20 paise per minute for calls made to within members of a group or within a village for 19 hours a day.
It would also offer value vouchers among other products. The company would rebuild the post paid channels and provide the `CUG’ offer for retail.It also plans to enter the PCO space with the GSM payphone coin box and fixed wireless phone for PCOs and STD segment.
On merger of Spice and Idea, he said that the court process of merger of the two would be completed in six months.On transformation of the IT segment, he said that Idea has undertaken transformational projects in Karnataka.
Idea has tied up with IBM as its alliance partner. "We are going to offer consumers in Karnataka a serious alternative," said Aga.