India’s mobile phone subscriber base up by 20.2 million in February 2011

mobile phones rural india

With the addition of 20.2 million new subscribers in February, India’s total mobile phone subscription touched 791.38 million towards the end of the month, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said.

There was a marginal drop in the number of wireline phones during the month. But the total number of phone subscribers (both wireless and wireline) rose to 826.25 million, resulting in a tele-density of 69.29. India is the fastest-growing wireless phone market in the world, and the second in terms of numbers after China.

New telecom policy to delink spectrum from licenses


The Telecom Department was the arguably unlikely birthing ground for India’s largest-ever scam. A Raja, the minister who allegedly helmed the swindle, is now in jail – large amounts of frequency were virtually donated along with mobile network licenses to companies that were ineligible for them.

New Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has announced a new set of rules today that aim at cleansing a system that seemed designed for manipulation. So Mr Sibal’s Telecom Policy 2011 deems that the licenses of all operators will be renewed every 10 years instead the 20-year-term that was on offer.

Government and Industry Unite to Support Mobile Broadband in India

The Honourable Minister for Communications & Information Technology of India, the GSMA, the Cellular Operators of India (COAI) and the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) announced today that they will work together to help facilitate growth of Mobile Broadband services across India.

Shri Kapil Sibal, the Honourable Minister for Communications & Information Technology, Rob Conway, CEO, GSMA, Sanjay Kapoor, Chairman, COAI and CEO, Bharti Airtel India & South Asia and Dr. J. S. Sarma, Chairman, TRAI outlined this collaboration during the ‘Mobile Broadband-India Empowering the Mobile Ecosystem’* seminar which took place at the Imperial Hotel in New Delhi today.

The growth of mobile communications in India is the result of a successful partnership between the Indian government, the regulator and the mobile community. This news demonstrates the shared commitment by all parties to address the need for nationwide broadband connectivity. The seminar focused on how Mobile Broadband, delivered using next-generation LTE technology, can help connect all citizens across urban and rural areas, to the Internet. This will further stimulate the Indian economy and provide people, especially those in rural communities, with access to online information, improving health, education and employment prospects, as well as providing access to financial and government services.

Shri Kapil Sibal, the Honourable Minister for Communications & Information Technology stated: “India has always been a global leader in information technology, providing the world with much needed leadership and direction in IT and research and development. However, it is time to bring the Internet revolution to our rural communities and I believe Mobile Broadband will play a significant role in achieving this. The Indian government understands the need for wireless broadband connectivity and is working towards making adequate spectrum available to support these services.”

Rob Conway, CEO, GSMA commented: “Mobile Broadband has transformed the reach of the Internet, with more than 450 million connections across the globe. Through sufficient spectrum allocation, India can become a leader in the provision of Mobile Broadband and take advantage of the huge economic benefits, which could generate more than INR 3,146 billion to India’s GDP by 2020. We fully support the Indian government in its efforts to connect all its citizens to the Internet and look forward to the early release of spectrum in both the 700MHz and 2.6GHz bands in line with international efforts.”

Mr. Sanjay Kapoor, Chairman, COAI and CEO, Bharti Airtel India & South said: “The global mobile industry achieved an important milestone last year when mobile data traffic surpassed total voice traffic. With the exponential growth of Internet users in India it is only a matter of time when we will follow suit. In witnessing the rapid adoption of mobile voice services, I am convinced that India will soon be at the forefront of next-generation Mobile Broadband technology. COAI is committed to working with the GSMA, TRAI and the government to meet the demands of Mobile Broadband and to provide universal Internet connectivity that will empower and enrich the lives of millions of Indians.”

Dr. J.S. Sarma, Chairman, TRAI continued: “TRAI is committed to developing an ecosystem to meet the need to connect our citizens in line with the National Broadband Plan. Mobile Broadband will play a significant role in meeting our target of 160 million broadband connections by 2014.”

The seminar also addressed how improved spectrum access for Mobile Broadband could transform the Indian economy. If India seizes the initiative, the booming high-tech industry, in particular, could take a global lead in developing low-cost Internet-capable HSPA, LTE and TD-LTE smart devices, as well as related applications and services, for use across India and other international markets.


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