India's teledensity touches 30 % but remains low in villages

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New Delhi, Sept 24 (UNI) With the addition of 9.03 million telephones in August, India's teledensity has gone up to 29.83 per cent. However, Communication Minister A Raja expressed concern over low rural penetration, which stood at around 11 per cent at August-end.

The country had a teledensity of less than one per cent in 1986-87 when mobile telephony came to India.

To overcome the urban-rural divide, the government wants to achieve rural teledensity of 25 per cent by activating 200 million rural connections by the end of the 11th plan, the Minister told an international telecom summit here.

Presently, around 88 million phones have been provided in the rural areas, accounting for a teledensity of around 11 per cent.

At August-end, India had 343.87 million telephones, according to figures released today by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today. Of this, 305.24 million were mobile telephones, including 9.16 million added last month, and the remaining 38.63 million were landline telephone. The number of wireline telephone has been declining and the trend continued in August when it came down to 38.63 million from 38.76 million in July, TRAI said.

India is the third largest in the world and the second largest among the emerging economies of Asia, next to China, with the mobile subscriber base.

In his inaugural speech at the summit, the Minister said they hope to achieve a target of 600 million telephone connection by 2012, adding it would require equipment worth 73 billion dollar in next five years. "We expect majority of investment through foreign direct investment(FDI)," he said, adding all major global telecom majors like Vodafone, Nokia, Elcoteq, Alcatel, LG, and Ericsson have their manufacturing bases in India.

He said broadband penetration in the country has also increased from a meagure 0.18 million in March 2005 to over four million now, adding base of internet and broadband subscribers will increase to 40 million and 20 million, respectively, by 2010. Broadband subscribers base in the country reached 4.73 million last month, according to Trai.

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