Telcos to bring ‘Cells on Wheels’ to boost Internet Services
Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio Infocomm may bring ‘cells on wheels’ (CoWs) to ease network congestion amid an upsurge in home internet and video services consumption because of lockdowns.
A CoW site is a piece of passive infrastructure on which base stations and antennae can be mounted and quickly wheeled for beefing up capacity and coverage in a locality facing network congestion. Telcos will seek approvals from local municipalities to press CoWs into action only after the telecom department clears additional spectrum allocations to address the data consumption surge.
Vodafone Idea is deploying capacities across (India) using all means, including “addition of CoW sites” wherever appropriate. Rajan Mathews, Director General of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said telcos would shortly engage with tower infrastructure partners to map locations seeing a sudden surge in home internet consumption.
Mathews said phone companies are awaiting the government’s go-ahead on the industry’s additional spectrum needs before setting Operation CoWs into motion. The COAI represents Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea. Sanjay Kapoor, ex-CEO of Bharti Airtel, said unlike normal mobile towers, which would take ages to install as they entail multiple approvals, civil work, tenancy issues, CoW sites can be deployed fast to manage any sudden jumps in voice/data traffic.