The current level of rural teledensity in India stands at 48.79 percent, while the urban teledensity stands at 152.36 percent, said Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. This includes 55,669 villages, which are void of mobile telephony services in India, the minister told the Lok Sabha recently. According to Prasad, mobile services cover 541,939 villages in the country, out of a total of 597.669 villages. This means 9.31 percent of India’s villages do not get any mobile coverage. He further added that the level of teledensity is determined by the purchasing ability of consumers, since the demand for telecom services is price sensitive.
Prasad noted that the considerable gap between the penetration of telecom services in urban and rural India is a result of the purchasing power of consumers in such areas. The objective, under the National Telecom Policy, include improving the rural teledensity to 70 percent by 2017, while 100 percent penetration is aimed for 2020. Telecom Minister Prasad said that measures being taken to increase telecom penetration include 2199 mobile towers being set up in the Left Wing Extremism affected states, with an estimated cost of Rs. 3567.58 crore. In addition, there are 1134 mobile towers that were radiating, as on 30 November 2015, said Prasad.
Mobile penetration in India has been an important goal for the current government. It’s initiatives, including Digital India and Make In India, hinge on the growth of mobile usage in the country. In addition, the fact that India is amongst the fastest growing markets in the world has pulled the biggest global players to the country, selling millions of smartphones each year. The country is being recognised as a mobile first nation, where desktop traffic, though quite huge, is still dwindling steadily as more and more consumers get on the Internet through their smartphones instead of a desktop PC.