Friday, 25 December 2009

India now has roughly half a billion mobile 'phone numbers, but...

Sometime at the start of 2010, India will become the country with the second largest number of mobile phone users in the world (the largest is China) - though the actual number of subscribers will be less than 500 million, since some people have multiple SIM cards.

In average terms, that works out to roughly 45 phone connections per 100 of population. However, in the urban areas, the number is closer to 97%, while it is only about 18% in rural areas.

India’s broadband connections, however, continue to be a shockingly small 7.5 million.

This is partly because we don't have the right policies to facilitate greater broadband connectivity, and partly because fixed-line connectivity is actually coming down - to 37.25 million lines at present.

So is the increasing popularity of mobile a consequence as well as a contributor to illiteracy?

As long as we continue to be primarily an oral culture, we will never make the kind of progress we should. We need to be a culture that is equally oral and literate.

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