According to the New Telecom Policy (NTP 99), the government has set a target to touch the teledensity of 7 by 2005 and 15 by 2010.
While the teledensity figures till the end of March 2002, are not available from the DoT, the industry estimates suggest that teledensity touched around 4.5 last year. However, economic survey report released by the government in Februray said that the teledensity in the country has reached at 4.9 till December 2002.
According to a government press note released on Friday, the urban teledensity has reached at 15.16 while rural teledensity remained a long distance with 1.49 as on March 31. As on March 31, 2001, the urban teledensity was at 10.16 and rural teledensity was at 0.93.
According to industry experts, the jump in Indias teledensity is attributed to the liberalisation of the telecom sector in India and nationwide roll out of cellular services across the country by private and government operators. The population of cellular phones has touched 1.26 crore at the end of march this year, according to Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).
According to latest government figures, Delhi stood on top with 26.85 per cent teledensity followed by 11.60 in Punjab and 11.13 in Kerala. Other states that are leading in total teledensity are Andaman & Nicobar (9.60), Maharashtra (8.99), Himachal Pradesh (8.40), Tamil nadu (7.82), Gujarat (7.44), Karnataka (6.45), Haryana (6.6) and Andhra Pradesh (5.56).
States having less than five per cent teledensity are Uttaranchal (3.95), West Bengal (3.72), Rajasthan (3.40), Madhya Pradesh (2.88), North-East (2.70), Orissa (2.22) and Uttar Pradesh (2.13). States with a teledensity of less than 2 include Assam (1.94), Jharkhand (1.57), Chhatisgarh (1.39) and Bihar (1.32).