Over 43,000 villages lack mobile services: Taking stock of wireless connectivity across India in six charts

Over 43,000 inhabited villages in India are without mobile phone services, Telecom minister Manoj Sinha said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

The number of inhabited villages without mobile services stood at 43,088 as on 27 July, 2018 (based on a 2018 survey), out of 5,97,618 inhabited villages in the country, as per census data from 2011, Sinha told the lower house of Parliament.

"Wireless technologies inter-alia include 2G, 3G and 4G technology. 2G mobile network covers 97 percent of population, while 3G, as well as 4G mobile networks, cover at least 88 percent of population of the country," Sinha added.

Firstpost decodes the state of wireless connectivity in the country, across urban agglomerations and in the hinterland.

Sinha also said that the top states that lack mobile connectivity include those affected by left wing extremism (LWE), namely Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

In Odisha, 9,940 villages do not have mobile services, while 6,117 villages in Maharashtra and 5,558 villages in Madhya Pradesh do not have mobile services, government data shows.

On the contrary, every village in Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Delhi, Kerala and Puducherry enjoys mobile services.

In 11 years, India's wireless subscribers base has risen by over six times, from 156.31 million in January 2007 to 1131.01 million in May 2018, according to data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). It crossed the 500 million mark in November 2009 and the 1000 million mark in October 2015. In June 2017 it reached a peak of 1183.04 million.

In the past six years, for which Firstpost has data, the mobile subscribers base has grown a meagre 5.84 percent (from 591.10 million in January 2012 to 625.66 million in May 2018) in urban India. However, it jumped a whopping 61.65 percent in rural areas (from 312.62 million to 505.34 million) during the same period.

While the share of urban subscribers has slumped from 65.41 percent in January 2012 to 55.32 percent in May 2018, that of rural subscribers has gone up from 34.59 percent to 44.68 percent during the same period.

Wireless tele-density, which denotes the number of mobile phones per 100 people, is an indicator of telecom penetration in the country. As wireless subscriptions have gone up substantially in rural areas over the period, the wireless tele-density increased from 37.13 percent in January 2012 to 56.81 percent in May 2018. But, urban India saw its wireless tele-density decline from 162.06 percent to 151.82 percent over the six-year period, for which Firstpost has data.

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Updated Date: Aug 02, 2018 16:14:15 IST