Mobile Tower in Vijoynagar

Courtesy: Facebook.

For the first time, BSNL’s mini tower began its 2G mobile services from August 1, 2020.

The same day many villagers in and around Vijoynagar township attempted phone calls to relatives in Miao. It worked well.

The villagers assess that the tower will give coverage only upto Hazolo village. So unless more towers are installed, people will not have access to mobile network. If not installed 90% of the Yobin inhabited areas will be deprieved of this new development.

The local MLA-Minister, Shri. Kamlung Mossang, shared on his Facebook account with this message.

The event made news at state and national dailies. The reports highlighted the efforts of the BSNL, supported the State govt and the Airforce. The news also attracted an editorial by the Arunachal Times. The editor commented this: Even though this has come late, the initiative has to be appreciated. The BSNL authorities deserve appreciation for the effort put in by them to start the service.

History

There is short history of mobile or public call office (PCO) and internet in Vijoynagar area.

Initially, there was an INMARSAT satellite phone for Circle Office in 2009. It went out of order in February 2009. People paid Rs 50 and then Rs 5 per minute. Pretty expensive phone calls.

Then next came the DSPT (Digital Satellite Phone Terminal) in 2009. Two such systems were installed, one in Vijoynagar HQ and another in Gandhigram. That did not require initial Rs 50 but only Rs 5 per minute. That brought cheaper calls.

DSPT services continued until 2018 when it was abruptly stopped without any warning. By 2018, there were 5 DSPT systems in Gandhigram alone. It was becoming more accessible.

Then we were back to square one without any phone connections.

And very recently, we have private Sattelite systems for internet services. There is one in Vijoynagar and another two in Gandhigram. Since the owners pay heavy montly bills, a call of one minute on Whatsapp cost Rs 15 and recently Rs 10, as three systems were available. That’s pretty high too.

Unless the new tower upgrade its service and install more towers, there won’t be much impact on lives of people. First, this package does not have internet facility. 2G helps only simple texts and voice calls. Second, with a single tower only those reside within a radius of 2 or 3 km will benefit. Most will be left out.

However, even with this limited initial start up, this is a welcome development for the people.

Updates

The Hindu on 5 August: 1) The BSNL service crashed after 48 hours due to shortage of power supply. 2) Battery will take four sorties to transport. 3) Tower Range is 5 km. 4) Only 5 users [Surge of users will follow immediate to Pandemic. Now people are still recovering from the “shock” of unexpected tower installation.]

Only 40 subscribers could call at a time. Since there is no battery back up, services are provided only in the evening. That increased traffic. Rarely one get through. (9 Sep 2020).

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