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Mobile users on the upswing

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Getting connected: The small gadget has become indispensable. — A file photo
Getting connected: The small gadget has become indispensable. — A file photo

Abhijit Dev Kumar

Telecom industry not hit by global recession

8.20 lakh subscribers in A.P.

7,000 towers installed in State

Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh, being one of the largest subscriber bases for the telecom industry, registers a whopping nine lakh new mobile phone connections every month.

These numbers are expected to grow in the months to come, indicating that the telecom industry has not been affected by the global recession.

During January, 8.20 lakh new mobile subscribers were recorded in the State.

Hyderabad itself boasts of 60 lakh mobile users already. In an interaction with The Hindu, Elango Thambiah, CEO, Airtel said that the number of increasing connections in urban and rural areas was proof enough to say that the telecom industry had been spared from bearing the brunt of the economic breakdown.

Coverage

Catering to the increasing number of users, over 7,000 towers have been installed in the State with each one covering 10,000 mobile phones.

However, the growth of mobile penetration in rural areas today is 18 per cent and every month, over 1.5 lakh rural subscribers are added to the mobile population in the State, points out Mr. Thambiah.

However, the low number of mobile phones in rural areas is being attributed to irregular power supply, non-availability of coverage and less number of outlets.

The distances are way too far to provide service to the rural audiences, but by the end of this year, the count will go up to 10,000 towers so that the connectivity is improved, according to Mr. Elango Thambiah.

Interestingly, more and more mobile users in rural areas do not mind paying more for and opt for value added services such as ‘hello tunes’ and ring tones, not to mention the latest service being voice messages.

Value added services make up for 10 per cent of the revenue, which is expected to grow.

Also, the voice message facility is gaining popularity, as people can leave their messages in whatever language desired, says Mr. Thambiah.


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