Telenor Pakistan has become the country’s first telco to have completed a Universal Service Fund project – and that too before time. To celebrate the achievement, Chief Technical Officer Telenor Pakistan Khalid Shehzad and CEO Universal Service Fund Company Parvez Iftikhar jointly inaugurated a BTS (Base Transceiver Station) cell site in district Bahawalpur’s Cholistan desert last week.
This cell site is one of the total 39 sites of USF Bahawalpur project that have been set up for this communication deprived area. USF promotes the development of telecom services in un-served and under-served areas throughout the length and breadth of the country. The fund consists of contributions (1.5% of adjusted revenues) by the Telecom Operators with no government funding involved.
The Bahawalpur Cholistan District BTS cell sites set up by Telenor Pakistan will bring coverage to the remotest areas of Cholistan desert and a previously un-served population of 242,000, over an area of 20,000 sq kms. The Bahawalpur Lot covers 22% of the area and 11% of the total estimated population of Punjab Province and includes Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan Districts.
Commenting on the timely completion of the USF project, Chief Technical Officer Khalid Shehzad said, “It is our pleasure to provide deep and wide reach to un-served and under-served areas such as the Cholistan desert. We are pleased with our progress and are hoping to complete all our future projects with the same levels of effectiveness. We believe that such projects are significant in terms of increasing service penetration in the rural areas.”
Universal Services Fund’s CEO, Parvez Iftikhar, while congratulating Telenor Pakistan on the successful completion of the project, said, “USF is going to continue bringing significant advances towards enhancement of telecom services, both in rural as well as urban areas of the country. The completion of the Bahawalpur project is an important step towards the fair and effective utilization of the fund. We are also encouraging our contractors to go for Alternative Energy Solutions and are pleased to know that Telenor Pakistan is taking the initiative in this regard.”
This is the first time a cellular operator has delivered a USF project even before the assigned period of twelve months. Universal Service Fund and Telenor Pakistan entered in the contract to provide basic telephony and data services in un-served areas of Bahawalpur on September 22, 2008. Telenor further plans to energize 19 sites in this Project with solar energy hence pioneering Green Energies in telecommunication sector on mass scale.