Hutch Cell Service In Chennai, Karnataka By June End

Chennai: | Updated: May 31 2002, 05:30am hrs
Cellular subscribers in Chennai and Karnataka (Bangalore) will soon have a third option. Hutchison Essar South Limited, which is the fourth operator in both these circles, is planning to launch its cellular services under the brandname Hutch by end-June. The telecom company is currently awaiting the clearance for spectrum from the wireless planning cell (WPC).

Speaking to eFE Mr Rajiv Sawhney, CEO, Hutchison Essar South, said that the company was ready with the infrastructure and was gearing-up for launch in a months time. The company was ready to start operations within two weeks of receiving the spectrum clearance, he said.

According to him, the company is going to spend around Rs 200 crore on each circle, in addition to the licence fees it paid - Rs 155 crore for Chennai and Rs 207 crore for Karnataka. It has already set up 110 base stations (towers) in Chennai and 140 in Bangalore, he said. Like Bharti (AirTel) has done in the South.

Hutch will operate at the 1,800 MHz frequency, while the incumbents RPG and Bharti (AirTel) are operating at 900 MHz frequency.

This could mean that those who do not have dual band handsets may have to buy new handsets to migrate to Hutch. But, Mr Sawhney says that this is not a big problem as all the handsets manufactured in the last one-and-a-half year are dual band.

Moreover, only 20 per cent of the handsets in the market are single band and most people change handsets once in two years.