Business Standard

25 years since the first mobile call: Roller-coaster ride for telecom

It's been through dizzying peaks, troughs, policy U-turns, court battles, brutal competition, and daily controversies

jyoti basu, telecom, industrialist BK Modi

Dialling up: Mobile telephony started with then West Bengal CM Jyoti Basu saying the first ‘hello’ to then Union communications minister Sukh Ram. Also seen in the picture is industrialist BK Modi (file photo)

Surajeet Das Gupta New Delhi
1994: The government projects the market for mobile phones in New Delhi to be 30,000 subscribers. When Essar builds a network of 100,000 subscribers, everyone is taken aback. In Kolkata, Modi Telstra, which launched the first mobile network, was struggling to get 30 subscribers a day. With a charge of Rs 18 a minute for voice calls and Rs 40,000 for a phone, this luxury was only for the well-heeled.

2020: The government projects the  New Delhi subscribers number 53 million, voice calls are free, and India is the largest user of data in the world. A 4G phone costs

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First Published: Jul 24 2020 | 6:00 AM IST

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