Telecommunications statistics in India

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India has the fastest growing telecom network in the world with its high population and development potential. Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Uninor, Reliance, Tata DoCoMo, BSNL, Aircel, Tata Indicom and MTNL are the major operators in India. However, rural India still lacks strong infrastructure. India's public sector telecom company BSNL is the 7th largest telecom company in world.

Telephony was introduced in India in 1882. The total number of telephones in the country stands at 1002.05 million, while the overall teledensity has increased to 79.67% as of 31 May 2015.[1] and the total numbers of mobile phone subscribers have reached 975.78 million as of May 2015. The mobile tele-density had increased to 77.58% in May 2015.[1] In the wireless segment, 2.44 million subscribers were added in May 2015.[1] The wire line segment subscriber base stood at 26.27 million.[1]

"Private operators hold 90.05 per cent of the wireless subscriber market share whereas BSNL and MTNL, the two PSU operators hold only 9.95 per cent market share," Trai said

Indian telecom operators added a staggering 227.27 million wireless subscribers in the 12 months between March 2010 and March 2011 averaging at 18.94 million subscribers every month. To put this into perspective, China which currently possesses the world's largest telecommunications network added 119.2 million wireless subscribers during the same period[2][3] - averaging 9.93 million subscribers every month (a little over half the number India was adding every month). So, while India might currently be second to China in the total number of mobile subscribers, India has been adding nearly twice as many subscribers every month until March 2011. Mobile teledensity increased by almost 18.4 percent from March 2010 and March 2011 (49.60% to 67.98%) while wireline subscriber numbers fell by a modest 2.2 million. This frenetic pace of monthly subscriber additions means that the Indian mobile subscriber base has shown a year on year growth of 43.23%. Subscriber number hit a peak in June 2012 but has since declined. The decline in telecom user base after June 2012 has been primarily due to the removal of inactive mobile telephone connections by service providers.

Monthly mobile subscriber additions[edit]

The following table illustrates the gradual increase in monthly mobile subscriber additions(in millions) in India since January 2002.

Year January February March April May June July August September October November December Annual Additions(in millions) Average Monthly Additions(in millions)
2002 0.28 0.35 0.41 0.28 0.29 0.35 0.36 0.49 0.37 0.53 0.72 0.8 5.23 0.44
2003 0.64 0.6 0.96 0.64 2.26 2.2 2.31 1.79 1.61 1.67 1.9 1.69 17.49 1.46
2004 1.58 1.6 1.91 1.37 1.33 1.43 1.74 1.67 1.84 1.51 1.56 1.95 19.49 1.62
2005 1.76 1.67 0.73 1.46 1.72 1.98 2.45 2.74 2.48 2.9 3.51 4.46 27.86 2.32
2006 4.69 4.28 5.03 3.88 4.25 4.78 5.28 5.9 6.07 6.71 6.79 6.48 64.14 5.35
2007 6.81 6.21 3.53 6.11 6.57 7.34 8.06 8.31 7.79 8.34 8.32 8.17 85.27 7.11
2008 8.77 8.53 10.16 8.21 8.62 8.94 9.22 9.16 10.07 10.42 10.35 10.81 113.26 9.44
2009 15.41 13.82 15.64 11.90 11.58 12.04 14.38 15.08 14.98 16.67 17.65 19.10 178.25 14.85
2010 19.90 18.76 20.59 16.9 16.31 17.98 16.92 18.18 17.1 18.98 22.88 22.62 227.12 18.93
2011 18.99 20.20 20.21 15.34 13.35 11.41 6.67 7.34 7.90 7.79 2.97 9.47 148.32 11.80
2012 9.88 7.44 8.00 1.85 8.35 4.73 -20.61 -5.13 -1.74 -2.39 -13.63 -25.88 -29.13 -2.43
2013 0.4 -1.97 5.35 6.33 8.95 12.12 9.90 11.42 7.99 5.78 20.47 18.11 104.85 8.74

Telephone statistics[edit]

  • Telephone subscribers (wireless and landline): 957.61 million (Sept 2014)[1]
  • Land lines: 27.41 million (Sept 2014)[1]
  • Cell phones: 930.20 million (Sept 2014)[1]
  • Monthly cell phone addition: 5.88 million (Sept 2014)[1]
  • Teledensity: 76.75% (Sept 2014)[1]
  • Telephone system: The telecommunications system in India is the 2nd largest in the world. The country is divided into several zones, called circles (roughly along state boundaries). Government and several private operators run local and long distance telephone services. It was thrown open to private operators in the 1990s. Competition has caused prices to drop and calls across India are one of the cheapest in the world. The rates are supposed to go down further with new measures to be taken by the Information Ministry.
  • Landlines: In India landline service is firstly run by BSNL/MTNL and after there are several other private players too, such as Airtel, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices. Landlines are facing stiff competition from mobile telephones. The competition has forced the landline services to become more efficient. The landline network quality has improved and landline connections are now usually available on demand, even in high density urban areas.
  • Mobile cellular: The mobile telephone network has aggrandized greatly since 2000. The number of mobile phone connections crossed fixed-line connections in 2004. India primarily uses the following bandwidths for cellular connectivity: 2G networks operate in GSM 900 MHz & 1800 MHz and CDMA 1XRTT 800 MHz bands; 3G networks operate in HSPA 900 MHz & UMTS/HSPA 2100 MHz and CDMA EVDO 800 MHz bands while 4G networks operate in LTE 800/1800/2300 MHz bands. The dominant players are Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications, Tata DoCoMo, Reliance Infotel and state run BSNL/MTNL. There are many smaller players like Aircel, Videocon, MTS, Uninor etc. with operations in only a few states. International roaming agreements exist between most operators and many foreign carriers. The data reported by service providers indicates that rural India is emerging as the growth driver. Mobile services subscriber base in rural areas increased to 382.50 million in September 2014 from 374.96 million in February 2014.[1]
  • Dialing system: On landlines system, intra circle calls are considered local calls while inter circle are considered long distance calls. Government is now working to integrate the whole country in one telecom circle. For long distance calls, you dial the area code prefixed with a zero (e.g. for Delhi, you would dial 011-XXXX XXXX). For international calls, you would dial "00" or "+" and the country code+area code+number. The country code for India is 91.
  • Visitor Location Register(VLR): Out of the total 930.20 million wireless subscribers, 812.11 million were found active in September, 2014.[1] The total active VLR number excludes the CDMA VLR figure of BSNL, as the service provider has not provided the VLR figures corresponding to their total CDMA subscriber base. The proportion of VLR subscribers is 87.30% of the total wireless subscriber base reported by the service providers.[1]
  • Internet users: Number of Internet users in India is the 3rd largest in the world next only to China and the United States of America.[4] Though the number of internet users is high, internet penetration is still much lower than most countries across the globe.
  • Broadband subscribers: Broadband in India is defined as 512kbit/s and above by the government regulator (New definition of Broadband notified on 18 July 2013). Total subscribers (wireline + wireless combined) were 75.73 million (Sept 2014).[1]
  • Internet service providers (ISPs) & hosts: 6,746,000(2012) source: CIA World Fact Book
  • Country code (Top-level domain): IN

Broadcasting statistics[edit]

  • Radios: 116 million (1997)

Radio broadcast stations: 153- AM (Amplitude Modulation), 91- FM (Frequency Modulation), 68 (1998) - Shortwave

  • Televisions: 116,438,938(2011 Census)[5]

In India, only the government owned Doordarshan (literally Door = Distant or Tele, Darshan = to view) is allowed to broadcast terrestrial television signals. It initially had one major National channel (also known as DD1) and a Metro channel in some of the larger cities (also known as DD2). Satellite/Cable television took off during the first Gulf War with CNN. There are no regulations against ownership of satellite dish antennas, or operation of cable television systems, which led to an explosion of viewer ship and channels, led by the Star TV group and Zee TV.

Initially restricted to music and entertainment channels, viewership grew, giving rise to several channels in regional languages and many in the official language, Hindi. The main news channels available were CNN and BBC World. In the late 1990s, many current affairs and news channels sprouted, becoming immensely popular because of the alternative viewpoint they offered compared to Doordarshan. Some of the notable ones are Aaj Tak that means Till Today, owned by the India Today group and ABP News, initially run by the NDTV group and their lead anchor, Prannoy Roy (NDTV now has its own channels, NDTV 24x7, NDTV Profit and NDTV India). Also Sahara (like Sahara Rastriya & some regional channel),Sun network,E nadu India TV & IBN 7(the TV 18 group) are some most popular channel.

Television terrestrial broadcast stations: 562 (of which 82 stations have 1 kW or greater power and 480 stations have less than 1 kW of power) (1997).[6]