Telecom users in rural areas have grown at a faster pace compared to their urban counterparts in the last five years, a CAG report said today.
Rural subscribers have grown to 282.23 million as on March 2011, from 45.71 million in 2006-07, while the urban user base increased to 564.08 million from 160.15 in the same period, the CAG report tabled in Parliament said.
"The growth rate of subscribers in rural areas during the last five years was higher at 485% compared to 233% in urban areas," CAG said.
The overall telephone subscribers increased from 206 million to 846 million, registering a growth of 310% during the period, CAG said.
"While the wireless user base increased by 647 million, the wireline base recorded a decline of 6 million," CAG added.
The teledensity has also increased to 71% at the end of March 2011 from 18% in March 2007.
"The rural tenedensity, which was 6 as on March 31, 2007, increased to 34 at the end of March 2011 as compared to urban teledensity of 47 and 157 respectively," the government auditor said.
The capital investment in the sector grew from Rs 2,40,711 crore in 2006-07 to Rs 4,79,278 crore in 2010-11 while the capital employed also increased to Rs 3,37,683 crore from 1,98,011 crore in the same period, indicating a healthy growth in investment in the telecom sector.
The share of private sector in making investments and capital employed is more than the public sector telecom companies.
The private sector investments increased from Rs 1,06,159 crore in 2006-07 to 2,81,946 crore in 2010-11, while that of public increased from 1,34,552 crore to only 1,97,332 crore in the same period.
In the same way, capital employed by private sector during the period increased to Rs 2,48,643 crore from 93,416 crore as compared to public sector, whose capital employed declined to Rs 89,040 crore from 1,04,595 crore respectively.
This has led to an increase in user base of private companies to 720.33 million in 2011 while the user base of public companies stood at 126 million.