Airtel, India's largest carrier, has announced that it will spend $9 billion toward upgrading its network infrastructure over the next three years. The carrier will invest in building new cell towers and laying fiber optic cables, all aimed at improving service in congested areas such as New Delhi, where it needs to double the number of cell towers to provide full coverage.
The move comes after Vodafone said that it would raise $2 billion to bolster its network in the country. While Airtel is the first to launch 4G services in India, Reliance Jio is the only carrier to have acquired a pan-India license, which gives it the ability to roll out 4G across the country. The carrier has invested a total of $16 billion on cell towers and infrastructure, and although a launch was slated for the fourth quarter, Reliance has stated that it will not be able to rollout its 4G services until March 2016.
Carriers have been unable to upgrade their infrastructure over the last decade as a bulk of the money was spent toward auctioning spectrum from the government. To give you an idea of the amount of money involved, the latest auction netted the government $16 billion.
Source: The Wall Street Journal