Mobile phones and internet
The new norms for spectrum allocation has brought about more realistic reporting on the number of mobile phones--that still continue to outpace the number of toilets in the country. There are 554.8 million actual mobile users in the country and 143.2 million internet users, according to a study India Mobile Landscape (IML) 2013 by research firm Juxt. More than 298 million, about 54%, of these device owners are in rural areas. There are total 773.9 million functional SIMs but only 643.4 million SIMs are being used by 554.8 million mobile devices. You can read more here.
Out of the total 874.87 million wireless subscribers of India, 731.40 million were active on the date of Peak VLR for the month of July 2013. As per the latest telecom subscription data (as on 31st July 2013) released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the proportion of VLR subscribers is approximately 83.60% of the total wireless subscriber base reported by the service providers.
Service Provider wise, Idea leads the tally with 97.58% followed by Vodafone(95.17%) and Bharti (95.16%). Circle-wise, West Bengal has the highest proportion of VLR subscribers with 88.74% followed by Maharashtra (88.22%) and Madhya Pradesh (87.64%).TN (incl. Chennai) has the lowest proportion with 73.33%.
The government plans to provide mobile phones to about 25 million below poverty line (BPL) families through the Bharat Mobile scheme, to households where at least one member has completed 100 days of work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) in 2012. Women will be given preference and the scheme is proposed to be completed in three years. You can read more here.
There are 21 million active mobile internet users in Rural India in June 2013 – a huge 5.3 times growth in 2013 over 2012 and nearly 47 times over 2010. It is estimated that there will be 27 million active mobile internet users by December 2013.
The i-Cube report titled, ‘Internet in Rural India’ by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB, which estimates that by December 2013, there will be 72 million claimed Internet users and 49 million active Internet users in rural India. By June 2014, claimed internet users in rural India will rise to 85 million and active internet users to 56 million. The report also finds that nearly 42% of the internet users prefer to access Internet only in Local languages. The majority of the rural internet population is not comfortable in accessing Internet in English and this is holding them back from using internet fully for other purposes than online entertainment. You can read more on the i-Cube report ‘Internet in Rural India’ here.
India moved down from 39 in 2012 to 47 in 2013 in the annual survey of internet freedom in various countries of the world, Freedom House. India ranks below countries such as Kenya, Ukraine, Armenia, Tunisia, Malawi and even Libya. You can read more of Freedom on the Net 2013: Despite Pushback, Internet Freedom Deteriorates here.