Indian telecom is more than 160 years old, beginning with the commissioning of the first telegraph line between Kolkata and Diamond Harbour in 1839. In 1948, India had only 0.1 million telephone connections with a telephone density of about 0.02 telephone per hundred population. By June 2006 there were 153.42 million telephone (including cellular mobile) connections in the country with a telephone density of 13.96 telephones per hundred population.
The Telecom Commission, set up in April 1989, has the administrative and financial powers of the Government of India to deal with various aspects of telecommunications. The Commission and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) are responsible, inter alia, for policy formulation, licensing, wireless spectrum management, administrative monitoring and control of the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) engaged in telecommunication services, research and development, and standardization/validation of equipment. In addition to the Telecom Commission, other Government organisations engaged in the telecom sector (as a part of DoT) are the Centre for Development of Telematics (CDOT), the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) and the Wireless Planning and Coordination (WPC) wing. CDOT was established with the objective of developing a new generation of digital switching items. It has developed a wide range of switching and transmission products both for rural and urban applications. TEC is devoted to product validation and standardization for user agencies. It also provides technical and engineering support to the Telecom Commission and the field units. The WPC wing deals with the policies of spectrum management, licensing, frequency assignments, international coordination for spectrum management and administration of the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933. In order to administer the use of radio frequencies, the licences/renewals for use of wireless equipment and the frequencies are authorised by WPC. The licences are granted for specific periods on payment of prescribed licence fees and royalty in advance and are renewed after expiry of the validity periods.
The entry of private service providers in 1992 brought with it the inevitable need for independent regulation. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was thus established with effect from 20 February 1997 by an Act of Parliament, called the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997, to regulate telecom services, including fixation/revision of tariffs for telecom services, which were earlier vested in the Central Government. The TRAI Act was amended by an ordinance, effective from 24 January 2000, establishing a Telecommunications Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to take over the adjudicatory and disputes functions from TRAI. TDSAT was set up to adjudicate any dispute between a licensor and a licensee, between two or more service providers, between a service provider and a group of consumers, and to hear and dispose of appeals against any direction, decision or order of TRAI.
MAJOR PLAYERS IN THE TELECOM MARKET
Players in the Indian Stock Market:
CURRENT MARKET PRICE
Tata Teleservices Mah Ltd
Players in the PSU Segment:
The subscriber growth, as shown above, has been growing at 38 % CAGR (FY 2002-06). This means that nearly 5-6 million customers are being added every month
The following table shows the number of subscribers per company in the fixed as well as mobile segments as on July ’06 and the percentage of share each company enjoys in both the segments.
Subscribers Jul 06 (mn)
Government owned. Has ramped up GSM services. National presence (except Mumbai and Delhi)
Government owned. Operates in Delhi and Mumbai.
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