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State's tele-density 85 per cent in March: TRAI
7,500 models of handset being used by Keralites
KOCHI: Come August Kerala will achieve yet another milestone by becoming the first State in the country to have hundred per cent tele-density – a measure of telephone penetration – in the country.
A Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) report dated March 31 said Kerala boasted 85 per cent tele-density as against the national average of 56.83 per cent. Of nearly 2.75 crore telephone connections in the State, 2.4 crore were mobile connections and 35 lakh were land line phones.
Kerala State IT Mission sources said that unlike in many other States, there was no urban-rural divide in Kerala in mobile phone penetration. They said the achievement would open up a plethora of opportunities before the State, not least in the field of mobile governance.
Already a pioneer in the field of m-governance, the State had immense potential for mobile-based information technology parks and research centres, especially since advanced technologies such as 3G and WiMax were being deployed here, the sources said. An auction conducted by the Department of Telecom saw majors such as Qualcomm win Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum in the State.
With technology in place, start-ups focussing on mobile applications and solutions would require low infrastructure investment while being able to provide direct employment and amass foreign exchange.
With the advent of 3G and BWA, along with smart phones the sale of which is set to surpass personal computers by 2014, the relevance of mobile health (mHealth) and mobile education (mEducation) projects is set for a quantum jump, the sources said. They called for pilot initiatives in this direction to prepare for the future.
The mobile applications space was also set to surge in the State, what with the handset mapping data available indicating that nearly 7,500 different models of handsets were being used by Keralites. Of these, the top six per cent or around 500 models were used by 90 per cent of the people.
The enhanced mobile phone penetration could have a cascading effect for the Information Technology industry. A large number of the 112 companies at Technopark were mobile-based product companies.
With the setting up of a telecom-based Technology Business Incubator, this number could be increased, the sources said. With mobile banking on the rise, the State could also set its sight on another socially significant feat — that of becoming the first State where everyone held a bank account.
For people, the mobile phone could become a one-stop-shop for information on various government departments, thus sparing them repeated visits to government offices, the sources said.
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