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Telecommunication

Hello? Listening in on India’s Telecommunications

Telecommunications in India is comprised of three main categories: mobile (wireless), fixed-line (wireline), and Internet services. In 2014, India’s telecommunication sector became the second largest market in the world by telecom subscriber count and growth has continued further.

Mobile and fixed-line telecommunication allows direct communication through the operation of switching and transmission facilities. Mobile telecom companies use air waves while fixed-line telecom requires twisted pair cables. Both use optical fiber cables, microwave radios and/or satellite link-ups for backhaul and backbone purposes. 97% of subscribers in India use wireless services; the remainder utilize wireline.

For Internet services, consumer and corporate channels use Internet Service Providers (ISPs). There are over 250 million Internet subscribers in India as of 2016.

Telecom Circles/Service Areas

There are 22 telecom service areas (telecom circles) in India that are separated into four categories covering different areas:

  • Metro – major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata
  • “A” category circles are the ones with highest  telecom subscriber counts and include states such as  Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu
  • “B” category circles are the ones with medium  telecom subscriber counts and include states such as Haryana, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal
  • “C” category circles are the ones with relatively low  telecom subscriber counts and include states such as Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Orissa, and the seven northeastern states of India.

Telecom service providers that want to operate in India must obtain a license for the desired circle. India’s Department of Telecommunications holds auctions to distribute electromagnetic spectrum licenses and has recently completed auctions for 3G spectrum.

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Talk to you later! The Future of India’s Telecommunication

A study by Groupe Speciale Mobile (GSM) Association projects that India’s smartphone industry will become the fourth largest in the world by 2020. Experts also predict that public Wi-Fi will increase due to smart city initiatives. Demands for wearable devices such as smart watches, Internet-enabled eyeglasses, and fitness monitors are expected to grow as well. With its strong telecommunication infrastructure, India is advancing quickly in this sector.

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