Telecom: Performance good, but not enough

  • Press Trust of India, PTI, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Feb 27, 2003 19:17 IST

Predicting an upbeat forecast for telecom sector with lively competition between multiple private firms, the Economic Survey on Thursday said the success in the sector notwithstanding, India lagged behind many other developing countries including China in tele-density.

"The number of phone lines per 100 persons (tele-density) has improved rapidly from 3.6 in March 2001 to 4.9 in December 2002...However, this is still at a level which greatly lags behind other developing countries," the pre-Budget Economic Survey 2002-03 said.

In particular, China started with a higher tele-density than India as of 1995 and obtained a higher growth over the following years, it said.

Dubbing the telecom sector as the most striking success, it said, "Looking forward, the telecom sector will feature lively competition between multiple private firms, with a strong role for TRAI to establish pro-competitive policies."

Stating that the year witnessed continued progress in telecom policies, it noted growth of new telephone connections by 17 per cent and significant fall in long distance tariffs.

"A major shift towards mobile telephony is now apparent, where the share of cellular connections in the new connections during April-December 2002 stood at 63 per cent up from 43 per cent in the year-ago period," it said.

As on December 2002, equipped capacity of about 50 million lines and 40.5 million working connections were provided in the country.

The survey also noted the two significant trends in the sector, one of improved role of private sector in providing telecom facilities and another of shift towards wireless technologies.

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