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Cellular equipment were airlifted to Lunana (Photo courtesy: BT)
Cellular equipment were airlifted to Lunana (Photo courtesy: BT)

Lunana to enjoy reliable mobile services

With Bhutan Telecom installing terrestrial radio link at Lunana, the highlanders are expected to enjoy reliable mobile services.

The installation work, which began four months ago, was completed on November 16.

Bhutan Telecom’s (BT) general manager of marketing division, Penjore, said that the voice call and 2G services existing at Lunana would remain the same. “The new facility would, however, make mobile services such as voice call more reliable.”

Although 3G and 4G services are not available today at Lunana, the terrestrial radio link also has the capacity to provide the services.

People of Lunana faced poor mobile connectivity since early 2016.

Penjore said that until today, BT was using a satellite earth station through which the phone services were provided. “However, in 2016, the satellite link developed some problems when the Intelsat satellite for Lunana was changed from IS 904 to IS 906.”

He said that the mobile service became erratic since then.

The terrestrial radio link for Lunana was established through Dochula, Lusigang, and Kechela stations to Lunana.

Lunana Gup Kaka said that the poor connectivity issue was raised at various meetings. “However, the connectivity didn’t improve until a few days ago.”

There are about 900 people in Lunana and about 500 own mobile phones.

A resident of Lunana, Pema Thinley, said that it was difficult for them to connect with their family in Punakha because of the poor mobile connectivity.

He said that the network improved two weeks ago and he hopes it remains the same.

Meanwhile, installing terrestrial radio link at Lunana cost Nu 21.4 million (M) of which Nu 5.5M was a subsidy from the government.

BT officials said that about Nu 13M of the budget was spent on chopper services. They said that harsh weather and transportation of logistics were some of the major challenges in the process of the project.

Officials also said that conducting maintenance work would be difficult in future because of high altitude and the weather. “Apart from maintenance conducted when the equipment breaks down, we also conduct a standard maintenance every four years,” an official said.

As of today, BT has 477,744 subscribers across the country.

Phurpa Lhamo

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