Telecommunications and Rural India

India’s telecommunications infrastructure story is remarkable in many respects. It used to be a public sector monopoly not too long ago. Waiting time was measured in years and the service was as poor as the price was high. Things changed rapidly after the sector was liberalized and the private sector was allowed to provide telephone services. As there was practically no wire-line phone system to speak of in the early 90s — around 20 million phone lines for a population close to a billion — the legacy burden was entirely missing. Cellular technology effectively allowed India to leapfrog the older twisted wire landline system. Vigorous competition brought prices that are among the cheapest in the world.
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