The Ministry of Communications or the Telecom Ministry on Thursday said that the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) equity inflow in the telecom sector touched $ 6.08 billion in the first half of the financial year (April to September 2017), which was more than four times that the sector witnessed during the financial year 2015-16 and around 10% more than that during 2016-17.
In a statement, the ministry said, "The growth of Telecom Sector in our country has been remarkable over the last few years as a result of key reforms and initiatives undertaken by the Department of Telecommunications. The industry has also wholeheartedly participated in the development efforts."
From 898.02 million in 2012-13, total telecom connections in the country reached 1194.99 million in 2016-17, registering a growth of 33.07%. As on end of September 2017, the total subscription stood at 1207.04 million out of which 501.99 million connections were in the rural areas and 705.05 million in the urban areas.
The department said that wireless telephony now constitutes 98.04% of all subscriptions whereas the share of landline telephones now stands at 1.96% at the end of September 2017.The overall teledensity in India is now at a high of 93.42% with teledensity in rural areas being 56.78% and that in urban areas at 172.86%.
The number of Internet subscribers (both broadband and narrowband put together) which was 422.18 million at the end of March 2017 increased to 431.21 million by the end of June'17. The number of subscribers accessing the internet via wireless phones etc. was 409.55 million at the end of June'17.
The number of wired Internet subscribers was 21.67 million at the end of June'17. The number of Broadband subscribers was 300.84 million at the end of June 2017. There was a net increase of 9.03 million in the Internet subscribers during the period from March 2017 to June 2017. "The Government has placed considerable emphasis on growth of internet and broadband in the country as part its Digital India campaign," the DoT said.
The DoT said that it launched Tarang Sanchar, a web portal of information sharing on Mobile Towers and EMF Emission Compliances, with a view to generate confidence and conviction with regard to safety and harmlessness from mobile towers, clearing any myths and misconceptions. It had also organised nation-wide awareness programme on EMF Emissions & Telecom Towers to build a direct bridge of engagement between different stakeholders and to fill the information gap with scientific evidence, initiated by DoT in 2016-17.
Earlier, this year, the department also granted a license under ‘Suigeneris’ category to BSNL for “Provision and Operation of Satellite-based service using Gateway installed in India” with all India service area on a non-exclusive basis. "This is a quantum leap in the field of Telecommunications to connect the unconnected through the provisioning of mobile satellite services across the country. The services are being provisioned in the phased manner initially for the government agencies such as Defence Services, Disaster Management Authorities, Parliamentary Forces, Railways, PSUs etc. and subsequently for the common public," it said.