Chennai, Feb 25: "The cellular phone market in India was growing rapidly and it was one area where the country has overtaken China," Union Information and Technology and Communication Minister Dayanidhi Maran said today (Feb 25, 2006).
Making this observation in his inaugural address of the Ericsson facility here, he said the mobile phone segment in India was growing rapidly. From a new subscriber base of 4.7 million last December, it had gone up to touch 5.3 million new subscriber in January.
Mr Maran said in the comparison between China and India in any sphere, the Chinese domination always stood out. But this was the first sector in which India overtook China.
"Every month, 1.75 million new subscribers were being added," he said, confident of reaching the targeted 250 million subscriber base of 2007 much earlier. Telecom reforms had catapulted the sector to the cutting edge of liberalisation, innovation and competition with the continued flow of awesome benefits to the consumers of the modern digital telecom services so abunduntly provided.
"Tariffs in India was one of the lowest," he said, adding, "The announcement of the ambitious 'One India Plan' by the two major public sector companies and the new ADC regime would bring down the tariff further. When the idea was conceived in July last, there was skepticism all round."
Asserting that nothing was done on the basis of the whims of a Minister, Mr Maran said, "We do not make any announcement without doing calculations. The aim had been to remove barriers in the national long distance (NLD) and the international long distance (ILD) segments. Compared to the earlier monopolistic situation when Rs 100 crore deposit and telecom experience was the pre-requisite, the sector had been opened."
"Now, opportunities existed for new entrepreneurs who could come into the market and do business. India is known for its entrepreneurial skills," he said.
Mr Maran said 'one man' companies like carpenters could afford to do business using cellular phones.
Promising several initiatives that would reach telephony to the common man at affordable rates, he said, 'One India' was just the beginning and the Government could only provide a level-playing field.