Wireless growth exceeds the national average in hinterland; drop in fixed lines more pronouncedNEW DELHI: It’s a myth that drop in fixed line phone subscriber numbers is an urban phenomenon. The latest telecom indicator report made by the regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, shows that the number of rural wireline, or fixed phone users, has reduced considerably in the quarter ended June 2008.
From 11.64 million for the quarter ended March, the rural wireline subscriber base is down to 11.33 million for the quarter ending June 2008. This is a decline of 2.66%. However, the wireless or mobile phone subscriber base has grown 13.72% in rural India, from 62.28 million for the quarter ending March to 70.83 million in the quarter ending June.
In the coinciding period, the total wireline subscriber numbers in the country have dropped from 39.42 million to 38.92 million, a decline of 1.2%. And the subscriber base across India for wireless services has increased from 261.07 million to 286.87 million in that duration, a growth of 9.88%.
Therefore, the rural growth in wireless phone subscriber numbers at 13.72% far exceeds the national mobile growth of 9.88%. In the case of rural fixed subscriber numbers, the decline at 2.66% exceeds the national negative growth rate of 1.2%.With metros nearing the saturation point, wireless telecom service providers are now moving into rural areas.
While the national teledensity is around 30%, that in the rural areas is still in single digits. The total number of wireless connections in the country as of end of August was over 300 million in the country.
India is second, after China, in terms of mobile subscriber numbers.
And, all major telcos are now eyeing rural India for the next phase of telecom growth.
6 months ago