Indian Telecom Network Grows by 40 Percent in 2010

Telecommunications network grew by over 40 per cent during 2010 with addition of 216.13 million connections . Telephone connections stood at 742.13 million on October 31, 2010, whereas it was only 526 million on the same day previous year. Of these 706.70 million are wireless connections. With this, Indian Telecom Network is now the largest wireless network in the world.

The current addition of more than 17 million connections per month puts the telecom sector on a strong footing. The target of 600 million connections by the end of Eleventh Five year plan has been achieved in February 2010 itself.
Growth of Telecom Sector

The opening of the sector has not only led to rapid growth but also helped a great deal towards maximization of consumer benefits as tariffs have been falling across the board. From only 54.6 million telephone subscribers in 2003, the number increased to 621.28 million at the end of March 2010 and further to 742.13 million at the end of October 2010 showing an addition of 120.85 million during the period from March 2010 to October 2010. Wireless telephone connections have contributed to this growth as the number of wireless connections rose from 3.57 million in March 2001 to 13.29 million in 2003, 101.86 million in March 2006, 584.32 million in March 2010 and 706.70 million at the end of October, 2010. The year also witnessed two more telecom companies crossing the 100 million mark in terms of wireless connections. Bharti Airtel was the first Indian Operator to achieve the landmark in 2009. It was followed by Vodafone and Reliance Communication in 2010.

Wireline Vs. Wireless

The growth of wireless services has been substantial, with wireless subscribers growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 57% per annum since 2004. Today, the wireless subscribers are not only much more than the wireline subscribers in the country, but also increasing at a much faster pace. The share of wireless phones has increased from 5.26 per cent in 1999 to 95.23% in October 2010.

Private vs. Public

The liberalization efforts of the Government are evident in the growing share of the private sector. The private sector is now playing an important role in the expansion of telecom sector. The share of private sector in total telephone connections is now 84.42% as per the latest statistics available for October, 2010 as against a meager 5% in 1999.

Teledensity

Teledensity is an important indicator of telecom penetration in the country. The teledensity which was 2.32% in March 1999 increased to 12.7% in March 2006 and 52.74% in March 2010 and further to 62.51% in October 2010. Thus there has been continuous improvement in the overall teledensity of the country. The rural teledensity which was above 1.21% in March 2002 has increased to 24.31% in March 2010 and further to 29.25 in October 2010. The urban teledensity has increased from 66.39 in March 2008 to 119.45% in March 2010 and stands at 140.06% at the end of October 2010.

Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)

Wide gap between urban and rural teledensitites indicate need for rapid increase in teledensity of rural areas. Introduction of wireless phones in rural areas and various measures of Government under USOF for expansion of mobile network in remote rural areas will enhance rural teledensity. Private Service providers are also looking for opportunities in rural areas.

Internet and Broadband

It is necessary to increase the broadband connectivity for the knowledge-based society to grow quickly and for reaping the consequent economic benefits. Several policies have been announced and implemented to promote broadband in the country. As a result of these measures the broadband subscribers grew from 0.18 million in 2005 to 8.8 million as on March 31, 2010 and about 10.34 million, at the end of the October, 2010. Internet subscribers grew from 9.2 million during QE June 2007 to 17.96 million during QE September 2010.

thanks to ITN

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