Missed call to free call – A journey

On July 31, 1995, mobile telephony began in India at Rs 16.80 a minute peak tariff. Now, most local voice calls are free, a market which has the largest subscriber base in the world after China

1994: NTP allows pvt players in telecom, introduces mobile services. Licences given to firms in four metros

1999: NTP shifts mobile players from fixed licence fee to a revenue-sharing regime

2001: WLL-CDMA allowed

2002: Tariff comes under forbearance. BSNL launches mobile services and Reliance Infocomm CDMA

2004: ‘Calling-party pays’ regime adopted

2006: FDI limit hiked from 49% to 74%

2008: ADC abolished. CDMA players awarded GSM licence and an average of six new operators allowed under first-come-first-served policy

2010: 3G and BWA spectrum auction completed. TATA Docomo launches 3G services

2012: SC cancels 122 licences, Airtel launches 4G LTE services from Kolkata

2013: Unified licensing introduced. Auction of 800 MHz and 1800 Mhz held. FDI increased to 100%

2014: Auction of 1800 and 900 Mhz bands held

2016: Jio launches GSM, makes voice free, pushes data

2017: Jio launches feature phones at rock-bottom price to woo 2G customers

2019: SC directs telcos to pay their AGR dues

2020: Lockdown sees 15% increase in data usage

Source – Business Standard

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