Indian cellcos Idea Cellular and Aircel have announced the launch of commercial services in new regions. Idea has announced that it has launched it GSM-based services in Tamil Nadu, with initial coverage of more than 130 towns across the state, according to the Business Standard. The operator has said that most of the region’s main towns are covered, including Coimbatore, Madurai, Trichy, Salem, Tirupur, Erode and Vellore, and it expects to spend approximately INR10 billion (USD212 million) on further expanding its footprint by 2011. Idea has also revealed plans to construct a network of 2,400 base stations by March 2010 in the Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka regions, rising to 2,600 sites in operation by March 2011. The cellco expects to have a pan-India presence by the end of 2009, with launches expected in the West Bengal, Calcutta, Assam and North Eastern circles by that date.
Rival cellco Aircel meanwhile has expanded its regions of operation to Mumbai, having made an estimated INR5.5 billion investment in the circle. Aircel has set aside around INR10 billion for nationwide expansion and it is expected to utilise the funds to roll out services in a six more states in the coming year; Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana. It also expects to double the number of base stations it has to 40,000 by the end of 2009.