Shubhendu Parth (SP): What is your estimation of the surge in demand for data across India during the lockdown? Are we moving closer to the full capacity utilization of mobile networks in the country?
Vishant Vora (VV): As lockdown came into effect, people were suddenly isolated and they started spending more time on their smartphones. Whether it is to buy medicines or groceries, answer work emails, consume news and entertainment or even stay in touch with loved ones via various social media apps, the smartphone has become our primary link with the outside world. We witnessed a sharp spike in data usage since the COVID-19 outbreak in India. After the initial steep rise, we are seeing data demand stabilizing a little. The telecom industry is working closely with the government and other stakeholders to ensure seamless connectivity and access to the internet, especially for delivering critical services.
We have experienced nearly one year of traffic growth within the first week of lockdown. The world’s largest network integration project undertaken by VIL over the last year gives us more capacity headroom, as do some of our latest technology deployments that make the utilization of the spectrum far more efficient. Our 12,000+ ma-MIMOs (multiple-input and multiple-output) that are deployed across key markets are substantially helping in managing the traffic spike. We are deploying capacities across using all means, including the addition of cell on wheels (COW) sites wherever appropriate.
SP: Experts believe that none of the telcos in India is equipped to handle this sudden rise in data consumption across the country. How is VIL managing the spike in load?
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