India may have gone Digital but the bricks and mortar are lagging behind

India has leap-frogged into the digital age in a big way.

But the only problem (and it is a debilitating affliction) is that bricks and mortar cannot be dispensed with.  Just hopping over the steps of building up the infrastructure does not help even if mobile and wireless services are as widespread as they are.

indian farmer and mobile

indian farmer and mobile

As I noted during the boom,

You cannot eat e-food and carry your goods down an electronic highway or use an e-house to keep out the rain. Old fashioned roads and rails and bridges and buildings cannot be replaced by a virtual world.

But the mobile penetration into rural India is extremely high. There may be no good roads to reach the villages and some may have little access to electricity but they all have their mobiles phones.

India Mobile Landscape (IML) 2013 study.

…… the field survey was conducted between May and mid-July 2013 covering 109 urban centres and 196 villages in all the 28 states and 3 union territories in India.

“It (the survey) covered 80 of the 88 regions as classified by the National Sample Survey Organisation under the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation. The study sample represents 94.8 per cent of the Indian population and 96.1 per cent of the total Indian households,” he said. Meanwhile, as per the data revealed by sectoral regulator TRAI, there are total 87.33 crore (873.3 million) mobile subscribers in the country. Of this, 73.14 crore (731.4 million) customers were found to be active on a particular date in June. The cumulative revenue of telecom service providers was Rs 54,284 crore (542.8 million) in the January-March quarter as per TRAI data.

There are 55.48 crore (554.8 million) actual mobile users in the country and 14.32 crore (143.2 million) internet users, according to a study by research firm Juxt.

…” More than 29.8 crore, (298 million) about 54 per cent, of these device owners are in rural areas as compared to 25.6 crore (256 million) in cities and towns,” Juxt co-founder Mrutyunjay told PTI. There are total 77.39 crore (773,9 million) functional SIMs with validity but only 64.34 (643.4 million) SIMs are being used by (the) 55.48 crore (554.8 million) mobile devices owners, the study report said.

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