News Details

News Details

Jammu & Kashmir gets LoCed in conversation

Economic Times, Kolkata
Tuesday, April 25, 2006

THE Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is opening up to the wonders of mobile telephony, thanks partly to the peace process between India and Pakistan. Areas close to the LoC, still occasionally exposed to infiltration, are now on the radar of telecom operators.
 
Telcos are putting up base stations in villages that are 3-5 km from the LoC to meet the fast-growing demand for mobile services. However, there are no services on or very close to the LoC. The fact that cross-border firing has stopped completely after a ceasefire between India and Pakistan, has helped the spread of cellular services.
 
The demand is driven not only by local residents but also by defence personnel posted in the tough terrain. “Locals in these areas had, till now, only heard of mobile phones. With some telcos like Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) setting up towers in villages close to the LoC, demand is outstripping supply,” sources told ET.
 
Besides, defence personnel are keen to use mobile services — not only for official purposes — but also for communicating with their near and dear ones. “Being connected with our home while being hundreds of kilometres away is a dream come true. Though wireless services had been available for many years, it is mobiles that have revolutionised communication for us,” said an armed forces member in Poonch.
 
BSNL has put up 415 sites across J&K, out of which around 30 are in villages close to the LoC in Poonch, Baramulla, Kupwara, Doda and other areas.
 
“BSNL is planning to set up another 95 towers in the next six months to meet the growing demand in J&K,” said Vineet Sirpaul, vice president (business development), Nutek. Nutek, subcontractor for Nokia and Ericsson, is setting up the BSNL network in the region.