India has achieved a tele-density of about 65 per cent, thanks to the major contribution from mobile phone services, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Thursday.
At the nationwide launch of mobile number portability (MNP), he said the subscriber base had climbed to around 75 crore from a mere 3.3 crore in March 2004. On an average, between 1.5 and 2 crore new subscribers were being added each month.
Dr. Singh asserted that his government's efforts at inclusive growth would not be successful unless they brought about a socio-economic transformation of rural areas.
“Telecommunications provides a key tool to make this happen. Indeed, access to affordable telecom services is the most important development that has happened in the rural areas of our country after the Green Revolution,” he said.
Dr. Singh hoped that the investment made through the Universal Service Obligation Fund and the advent of the 3G and Broadband Wireless Access services would give a further boost to affordable voice and broadband services.
MNP was introduced as a pilot project in Haryana last month. As per the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India guidelines, after an application is submitted, it should take less than 7 days before a number is ported (the operator is changed). However, a subscriber will have to stay with one operator for a minimum of three months to avail himself of the service. Both pre-paid and post-paid consumers can avail themselves of the service.