India sees 40 percent jump in phone lines

Wednesday, 28 July 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: India's rapidly growing telecom market witnessed a record 40 percent growth in phone connections in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2004, mainly on the back of a sharp jump in the mobile users base.

The number of phone connections at the end of fiscal 2003-04 rose to 76.5 million, said the government's annual report on the telecom industry issued Wednesday.

This comprised 46.48 million fixed lines and cellular connections provided by state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL), and 30 million by the private sector, it added.

During the year 2003-04, 21.92 million new telephone connections were provided. The telephone density, which was 5.11 percent as on March 31, 2003, has increased to 7.02 percent at the end of the last fiscal year.

"The two important features of this phenomenal growth in the telecom sector are increasing share of mobile phones and higher contribution of private sector in the incremental growth," said the statement.

"The users preference in favour of mobile phones against fixed phones continued and, as a result, mobile phones grew by about 160 percent while fixed phones grew by three percent during the year."

The share of mobile phones in the total phone connections has increased from 23.77 percent as on March 31, 2003 to more than 44 percent in the last fiscal year.

The share of private sector in the growth of telecom sector has also increased from 21 percent in the fiscal year 2002-03 to 39 percent in the year ended March 31, 2004.

Out of 607,491 villages in the country, 522,347 villages have been provided with phone connections as on March 31,2004.

Source: IANS
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