labels: economy - general, telecom, union budget 2003
Many developing countries are ahead of India in telecom sector news
Nisha Das
27 February 2003

New Delhi: The success in the telecom sector notwithstanding, India lags behind many other developing countries, including China, in tele-density, the pre-Budget Economic Survey 2002-03 has said. However, the survey predicted an upbeat forecast for the telecom sector with lively competition between multiple private firms.

According to the survey, the number of phone lines per 100 persons of the population (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,” it added. In particular, China started with a higher tele-density than India as of 1995 and obtained a higher growth over the following years, the survey said.

The survey however dubbed the Indian telecom sector as the most striking success in the country and said: “Looking forward, the telecom sector will feature lively competition between multiple private firms, with a strong role for the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to establish pro-competitive policies.”

Stating that the year witnessed continued progress in telecom policies, the survey 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.

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Many developing countries are ahead of India in telecom sector