Subscribers Prefer Mobile Over Landline: Survey

New Delhi: | Updated: Feb 28 2003, 05:30am hrs
Recent telecommunication trends indicate that the new telecom subscribers in India favour the private sector over public sector service providers and prefer wireless telephony as compared to fixed phones, according to a pre-budget Economic Survey report tabled in parliament on Thursday.

As per the report, the private sector has provided a total of 29 lakh telephone connections (including basic, wireless in local loop (WLL) and cellular) during April to December 2002, while public sector companies provided 24 lakh connections in the same period.

Similarly, 33 lakh cellular connections (public and private sector) in total were recorded in April-December 2002, while only 19 lakh basic connections were provided in the same period.

A major shift towards mobile telephony is now apparent, where the share of cellular connections in the new connections during April-December 2002 stood at 63 per cent up from 43 per cent last year, the report stated.

The share of the cellular mobile connection in total telephone subscribers (fixed and mobile) has gone up from 10 per cent in March 2001 to 14 per cent in March 2002 and 21 per cent at the end of December 2002. The total number of phone lines per 100 persons of the population (teledensity) has improved rapidly from 3.6 in March 2001 to 4.9 in December 2002, the report stated.

Cautioning that rise in modern telecom has raised fresh concerns about the digital divide, where the rural areas are disadvantaged through inadequate telecom services, the report said that the private operators had only provided 7,123 village public telephones (VPTS) by December 2002, against the target of 97,806 VPTS in first three years as per their licence terms.

The telecom sector, which ranks just second to energy in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) approval, had witnessed an increase in FDI inflow of Rs 1,077 crore during January-July 2002.