ANDHRA PRADESH

Mobile connections on the rise in State

in touch: Owning a mobile phone is no big deal now, with both operational costs and prices of handsets coming down.

in touch: Owning a mobile phone is no big deal now, with both operational costs and prices of handsets coming down.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: Mohd. Yousuf

Abhijit Dev Kumar

Nine lakh subscribers added every month; steady rise also recorded in rural areas

Hyderabad: Ever wondered as to how many mobile phone connections are being added every month in the State? Hold your breath— it is a whopping nine lakh connections.

With almost every other person owning a mobile phone, the number of mobile phone users is increasing in leaps and bounds. Moreover, Andhra Pradesh being the largest mobile market in the country, penetration of the phone market in rural areas has also been on a steady rise.

Subscriber base

On the whole, the State has over 26.5 million mobile phone users, to which Hyderabad contributes 85 per cent of the subscribers. Officials from Bharti Airtel Limited disclosed that they recorded 8,86,000 new subscribers in the month of October and 8,41,000 more customers during November. Adding to the existing numbers, Vodafone’s subscriber base was clocked at 33,27,127 in October and 34,30,016 during November.

Also, with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) working towards having 100 million mobile users from rural areas, mobile operators too are looking to expand their networks in that direction.

“Mobile penetration in rural areas is comparatively low and due to recent network expansions, it is now recorded at 34 per cent,” says Elango Thambiah, CEO, Bharti Airtel Limited, AP Circle.

Expanding coverage

Players such as Tata Teleservices Ltd. are not left behind. Going by their growth, they touched one million mobile subscribers in eight years after they launched their services in 1999 and crossed the three million mark this month.

Officials from the company say, at present Andhra Pradesh is home to 1,004 towers and are working towards expanding coverage and number of subscribers in the rural areas.

Attributing the steady growth of subscribers in the city and rural areas, T.H. Chowdary from the Centre for Telecommunications Management and Studies says,

“The prices of mobile phones are affordable and there are a variety of phones for every person living in towns and rural areas. However, if the mobile service operators work towards having a strong network in rural areas, the subscriber base may grow phenomenally.”

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