In smartphone era, there’s still a waiting list for landlines

Business

It may not yet be the end of the road for the good old fixed-line phone.

Despite the relentless onslaught of mobile phones, which has put paid to the fortunes of the fixed-line phones, government-owned BSNL still has a waiting list for both its wireline and WLL (wireless-in-local-loop) services in most of the telecom circles in the country.

While the waiting list may not be very big, at slightly over 50,000 for wireline phones, what is pertinent is that excepting six circles — Chhattisgarh, North East-II, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh (East and West) and Chennai — there is a waiting list in each of the remaining wireline circles in the country.

The maximum numbers of waiting list wireline applications, as on February 2012, was in Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, with the demand largely coming in from rural and semi-urban areas.

For wireless-in-local-loop connections — essentially a limited mobility service within a single charging area in a fixed radius — the state-owned telecom firm is seeing a waiting list in just two circles — Karnataka and Maharashtra.

For its GSM services, though, the government-owned BSNL predictably does not have a waiting list in any of the country's 26 circles.

Latest data from the Department of Telecommunications shows that with regard to the penetration of fixed and mobile phones, the share of mobile phones has increased to 97 per cent by February 2012, as compared to 96 per cent in March 2011.

In case of fixed line phones, the share has actually come down from 4 per cent to 3 per cent during the same period.

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