"Government had approved distribution of 5,000 SIM cards without any ID proof. Government's priority is to save lives there without any discrimination," BSNL Director for Consumer Mobility Anupam Shrivastava told PTI. Following government orders, private operators too had distributed free SIMs earlier but their numbers could not be ascertained. Idea Cellular had extended offer of 60 minute free calls till Thursday, while rest of the operators ceased the offer in midnight of September 17-18.
Aircel spokesperson said that the company is offering talktime on loan to its customers and has increased the credit limit of post-paid customers. "The offer is still on and will go on for sometime," Aircel spokesperson said. In terms of network, BSNL said 829 out of its 1,173 mobile towers in the valley have started working and rest will be restored within a week.
"Our 521 BTS were affected by floods. 177 have been restored and in rest electronic equipments have been damaged. It will take around a week to replace electronic equipments at affected BTS. We have now send a 5-member high level team that is going to completely revive network in J&K," Shrivastava said.
BSNL has restored 146 mobile towers in Srinagar and it is providing incidental coverage in Lal Chowk area of Srinagar which can support sending of SMS. Aircel, largest telecom operator in the state, said that its 80 per cent network is now operational.
Reliance Communications mobile towers at 140 locations in the valley are now operating. Idea and Airtel said their networks are now operational in all district headquarters. "The network has been completely restored in Jammu region and parts of Anantnag, Bandipore, Baramula, Budgam, Ganderbal, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shupiyan and Srinagar," Idea said. Airtel added that its network connectivity has been restored in all major areas including the tehsils and Talukas.