Over 1.4 crore new telephone connections, about 88% of them mobile, were added in the eight months of this fiscal (April-November 2004), taking the number of connections in the country to over nine crore.
With this, teledensity in the country moved up to 8.4% by November-end from 7% in March 2004, according to the latest figures released by the Department of Telecom (DOT) on Sunday.
More than 19 lakh connections were added in the month of November 2004 alone. As per the statistics, the number of mobile phones, including WLL (M) as on November 30, 2004, stood at 4.6 crore while the fixed connections stood at 4.5 crore.
“Private sector has played a major role by accounting for more than 76% of the expansion during these eight months. The private sector has so far provided little above four crore phones as on November 30, 2004, which is 45% of the total phones in the country,” DOT said. It said the public sector BSNL has plans for providing 25 lakh CDMA (WLL) telephones in rural areas. “Of these, 10 lakh phones shall be provided before March 2005 and the remaining 15 lakh shall be provided during next year up to December 2005,” DOT said.
Further, it said the commissioning of GSM network of 1.5 crore mobile phones was in progress.
“Of these, 40 lakh phones shall be provided by March next year and the remaining shall be provided during 2005-06.
“In the field of broadband services, it is being planned that about 50,000 subscribers shall be provided connectivity by March 2005,” DOT said. DOT said in the rural areas, BSNL has provided additional direct exchange lines and village public telephones (VPTs). “As against four lakh plus additinal telephones provided in rural areas in April-November 2003, BSNL has provided 6.9 lakh telephones during the current fiscal. “Under the Mobile Gramin Sanchar Sewak Scheme, a total of 11,013 villages have been provided telecom facility till November 2004,” it said.
It said 2,229 VPTs had also been provided by BSNL during the past eight months.
“An agreement has been signed between BSNL and USO administrator during November ’04 for the provisioning of VPTs in 66,822 villages in a span of three years. Of these uncovered villages, 14,183 villages have to be provided with VPTs on digital satellite phone terminals and the rest on WLL/land-lines,” DOT said.