Bharti Aims At 1.5 M User Base In AP

Hyderabad | Updated: May 31 2004, 05:30am hrs
Leading private cellular operator in Andhra Pradesh Bharti Mobile Limited has drawn a slew of initiatives to achieve a 1.5 million subscriber base in the state by the end of this fiscal as against the last fiscals 6.5 lakh customers.

The company has earmarked Rs 250 crore as fresh investments during the fiscal to augment its switching capacity further, adding more cell sites, reaching out to more towns, advertisements apart from network upgradation and new billing systems.

Some of the major initiatives to achieve the said target include service level agreements (SLAs) with various departments within organisation, more focus on rural, introducing advanced billing system, enhanced customer support services, six Sigma practices, and creating mini circles with the state.

We are confident that the company will achieve over 100 per cent growth during the year and will achieve the 1.5 million subscriber base, said K Srinivas, chief operating officer, AP Circle. We did extremely well during last fiscal and we hope to do the same this year too, he added.

Andhra Pradesh is one of the biggest market for Bharti Mobile. The mobile penetration in the state as a whole is a meagre four per cent only and in Hyderabad it is only seven per cent. We see there is enormous potential in rural areas where the company would lay more emphasis during the year, he said.

Bharti has earmarked Rs 250 crore investment in the state during the fiscal to augment its switching capacity, to set up more cell sites (from 480 to 850), to reach out to 100 more towns (currently 215 towns), mini circle offices in five major places with business managers, advertisements, Mr Srinivas said.

The company had invested Rs 220 crore during last fiscal, he added.

Following the increased focus on the rural areas and more towns, the revenue from the upcountry market is expected to go up from the existing 50 per cent to 70 per cent during the year. Till last year, contribution from Hyderabad alone was around 50 per cent, he said further.

The average revenue per subscriber is the highest among other cell operators in Andhra Prdesh. Bharti nets an average of Rs 800 per subscriber, he said adding Andhra Pradesh is one of the top 5 circles for Bharti Mobile. According to him, Bharti would be introducing a new technology called EDGE - Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution) which enables to transmit the data and data applications at a much faster rate (156 kbps) than the existing system.

The system has just been introduced in Delhi and would cover 10 more citits during the year, he said. Likewise, the company is also soon introducing a new billing system called Keenan - in technical collaboration with CSG of the US to not only provide accurate bills but also help manage large client base.