Wednesday, January 2, 2008
The telecommunication initiative in rural areas in the past have largely been driven by government initiatives and is more or less restricted to fixed land lines. It is the very recent past that companies like Airtel have started talking about focusing on rural India , which probably is driven by the fact that rural tele-density is still very low and offers the opportunity for growth as and when the urban markets saturate.
Surprisingly till now none of the private operators have made any serious foray into rural areas in India. But that is not the case in other developing countries, in Africa according to a report by Vodaphone, initiative is driven by private operators and predominantly cellular technology based. Another successful case is that of Smart Communications Inc of Philippines which introduced pre-paid services at very low denominations and used over the air payment system to overcome the availability problems, which has lead to increased penetration and usage of telecom services in rural India.
One of the possible reasons why we have not seen any serious initiatives from private operators in India might be the pace at which the urban market is growing , once the urban markets near saturation we might see more rural telecom intiaves.