Vodafone India, which has invested over Rs 700 crore in the North East in the last one year, has said it will further ramp up investment in the region as the telecom major aims a healthy double-digit growth this fiscal. “The North East is an important and one of the fastest growing markets for us. Last year, we invested Rs 706 crore in this region to expand our base. We will continue to expand and invest in this market,” Vodafone India Business Head (Assam and North East) Nidhi Lauria told PTI here. She, however, declined to put a number on the proposed investment for the North East for the current fiscal. “The investment we put in last fiscal was for expanding our 3G and 4G networks. We also invested on spectrum and modernising our operations,” Lauria said. The company has expanded its ‘SuperNet 4G’ network to more than 253 towns and over 1,365 villages across all seven states in the region during the last few months, she added.
Talking about business, the first woman business head of the company said Vodafone enjoyed a “good double-digit” growth during the last financial year. Without specifying, Lauria said: “I do not see the growth slowing down. We will continue with the same growth in the current fiscal too.” Vodafone currently has a customer base of 55 lakh in the North East, of which 40 lakh are from Assam alone. Stating that the company is now focussing more on data usage, Lauria said: “Currently, 24 per cent of our revenue is from data. This is a strongly growing segment. Last year, it grew by 70 per cent on year-on-year basis. People here are very data savvy.” Talking about its manpower in the North East, she informed that the company has created over 70,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities. “Out of this number, around 15,000 are our exclusive dealer associates. In the region, we have around 500 employees on company’s rolls and 24 per cent of them are women. This is a big achievement for us in terms of women representation in the workforce,” Lauria said.
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Vodafone commenced its journey in the North East in 2008 and has invested more than Rs 2,200 crore so far in the region to expand, modernise and develop technology for customers. Presently, Vodafone has over 5,300 cell sites, more than 300 retail touch points and over 67,000 distribution touch points across the North East. Recently, the company announced offering a 50-minute free talk time to its customers in flood-affected areas to contact anyone in case of emergencies. This one-time service is being offered in affected regions like Kamrup, Karimganj and Bongaigaon in Assam, Ukhrool and Bishnupur in Manipur, and in North Tripura at present.