According to TRAI (India’s Telecom Regulator) recent announcement India’s mobile subscriber base now stands at 76 Million. I am not sure how they arrive this figure – do they account each PrePaid card as one user (or) a minimum number of days of prepaid user (or) how they handle inactive post paid connections?. Anyways this is an impressive stride considering the fact that 1/3rd (27 million) of this users have been added in last 12 months – with this about 7% of India’s population have a Mobile Phone. The fixed line (which was been around for 100 years+) pales in comparison to this at 49 million.
This places India at Sixth position – China tops it now at 398 Million. India will be at second Position by 2010.
Mobile phones growth is already showing significant impact in Indian economy. In Agriculture/Farm industry traditionaly in developing/poor countries like India the main problem was lack of access to timely and accurate Information. This Information can be about latest weather, natural disaster warnings, crop trends, market price for crops in surrounding areas, best practices including Insurance coverage, loans and more. Basically bulk of the population was denied information or it was too expensive to reach to them. Mobile phones are making a sea change in this.
I believe it will take years (or decades) for PCs to reach to every corner of India – Fear not, Mobile phones will fill that void and they are already doing it more rapidly than what we realize. Post your comments and experiences on this below.