The mobile phone in India turns 25 years old. On July 31, 1995, for the first time, mobile phones remained low in the Indian market. For the first time on this day, the then Chief Minister of West Bengal, Jyoti Basu made the first mobile call and spoke to the then Union Telecom Minister Sukhram. Since then, India has become the second largest telecom market in the world after China. Currently, India has about 448 million mobile phone internet users, and a large part of the credit goes to Mukesh Ambani, who introduced free calling and internet culture in the country with Jio. Previously used as a luxury and status symbol, the smartphone has become a necessity of the people today. Let’s know how much the mobile phone has changed in 25 years…
1995: Corporates had to pay up to Rs 15,000 for internet.
In 1995, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited gave the gift of Internet connectivity to the people of India on the occasion of Independence Day. The company announced the launch of Gateway Internet Axis service in the country. Initially, this service was given only in the four metro cities. People used the internet with leased lines or dial-up facilities through the Department of Telecommunications’s i-Net. At that time, they had to pay Rs 5,000 for 250 hours whereas for corporates this fee was Rs 15,000.
First call between Writers’ Building, Sanchar Bhawan in New Delhi
Jyoti Basu made this call from Kolkata’s Writers’ Building at Sanchar Bhawan in New Delhi. India’s first mobile operator company was Modi Telstra and its service was known as Mobile Net. The first mobile call was made on this network. Modi Telstra was a joint venture of Modi Group of India and Telstra of Australia, Telstra. This company was one of the 8 companies that were licensed to provide cellular services in the country.
Both the caller and the hearer had to pay money
Mobile service in India took time to reach more people and this was due to expensive call rate. Initially, an outgoing call required Rs 16.80 per minute and a call to pay Rs 8.40 per minute, or a single call would cost Rs 24 to 25 per minute.
Nokia brought the first camera phone in India
By the way, in 2000, he made his debut in camera phones in Japan and South Korea. At this time, cameras ranged from 0.11 to 0.35 megapixels. However, at this time there was neither social media nor big display in the phone. According to reports, the Nokia 7650 was the first camera phone in India. The company first announced this in 2002. It had a 0.30 megapixel camera and used to transfer photos with GPRS, Bluetooth and infrared.
HTC launched the first Android phone of 30 thousand rupees in India
Taiwanese handset maker HTC launched the first Android smartphone in India. It worked on Google’s open source Android operating system. At that time its price was 30 thousand rupees.
From 1994 to 2001
In 1994, the government allowed entry of private sectors in cellular and radio service. Auction of spectrum took place in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. In 1995, Modi Telstra established the first mobile network in Kolkata. This was the time when mobile phone ring was heard in India for the first time. On July 31, 1995, the first call was made by the then Chief Minister of West Bengal, Jyoti Basu, between the then Union Telecom Minister Sukhram by making the first mobile call. It can also be said that this happened between the Writers’ Building in Bengal, Sanchar Bhawan in New Delhi. Just two years later, in 1997, TRAI was established as an independent regulator, whose job is to control the telecom companies. In 1999, operators started sharing revenue with the government instead of license fees. The advantage of this was that call rates were reduced. At the same time, in 2001 the fixed line service provider started offering limited mobile network to the customers.
From 2002 to 2006
In 2002, Dhirubhai Ambani’s Reliance Infocomm launched CDMA Mobile Service and the company launched a phone of 500 rupees to deliver the phone to every person. In the same year, roaming started on the national call. However, by 2003, incoming calls became free. Companies were allowed to provide cellular and landline service on a single license. After this, in 2004, the number of mobile phone users exceeded the landline connection. Just a year after that, in 2005, FDI in telecom was increased from 49% to 74% and in 2006, the mobile number portability was introduced for the convenience of customers.
2008 to 2012
During this time a new revolution came in the mobile phone segment. In 2008, MTNL launched 3G networks in Delhi and Mumbai and during this time CDMA companies were allowed to provide GSM service. However, the telecom sector also witnessed a 2G scam stain in the year 2009. And in the same year, the first Android phone was launched in India, which was far beyond the reach of the common man as it cost around 30 thousand rupees. Mobile number portability was introduced at the national level in 2011 to facilitate people, allowing customers to switch from one operator to another. In 2012, the Supreme Court, while giving its verdict in the 2G spectrum scam case, revoked around 122 spectrum licenses issued between 2007-09.
2013 to 2020
By 2013, 100% FDI was allowed in the telecom sector. In the same year, operators were also allowed to provide all types of telecom service on one license. In 2014, the domestic company Micromax had become the largest mobile phone supplier in India. And exactly two years later in 2016, Reliance Jio entered the market with 4G VoLTE network, after which a price war between all the companies started. Everyone lowered their rates to retain customers. In 2017, the nationwide roaming charge was also discontinued. And now in 2020, at its AGM meet at Reliance, it announced that it has built an indigenously developed 5G network, which will soon be rolled out in India.
Mobile phone users increased 3000 times from 1999 to 2019
The number of mobile phone users in India increased at a very slow pace. High call rates and expensive devices can be said to be the main reason for this. But during this time, Chinese companies entered the Indian market. In 2011, Chinese largest smartphone company Xiaomi made its move towards the Indian market and gave people smartphones at affordable prices. What happened after this can be gauged from the fact that in 1999 where there were only 12 lakh cellphone users, by 2019, the number of smartphone users reached 116.17 crore.