History of the Cell Phone market in India
The First Phone call made : Hello India !
Mobile phones have become a very basic commodity now-a-days. Even a very common man can be seen conversing on a mobile phone, but this was not the same two decades before from now. It was in 31st July 1995 that the first cellular call was made in India, the then union communications minister, Sukh Ram, dialled from the Department of Telecommunications in Delhi and spoke to the West Bengal Chief minister, Jyoti Basu, at Writer’s Building in Calcutta and today we stand here with more than 900 million mobile phone subscribers and we are the second largest mobile phone market in the world just after China which is leading the mobile phone market with more than 1100 million subscribers. The mobile phone which was used to make the call was Nokia 2110 weighing about half-a-pound which was much heavier than the mobile phones which we use now-a-days.
Mobile phones as a luxury : Late 1990’s
In the initial years there were very few mobile phone users and the commodity was restricted in the hands of upper classes; the reason probably being the high tariff rates per minute. The tariff rates were as high as Rs 16 to Rs 25 per minute in those years in addition to that you were also charged for the incoming calls on your mobile phone. It was only under the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee that finally in 1999, the government decided to open the stake to private enterprises and stopped charging a license fee from telecom operators. The cost of mobile phones in those days was around 20000 to 50000 which were clearly beyond the reach of any common man.
The changing trend : Mobile phones a basic commodity !
The first mobile phone production in India on a big scale was done by Motorola and the first cell phone network was Modi Telstra’s MobileNet service in Calcutta. After which several mobile phone companies joined the race and MobileNet disappeared from the Indian market. Around 1999 Nokia had the largest market share in India followed by Motorola and other companies. Nokia launched its first Smartphone with a touch screen which was Nokia 7710 in 2004. Soon after, it was Samsung to introduce its first touch screen mobile phone Samsung Behold SGH-T919. After that Samsung launched several mobile phones in the market and grabbed the major portion of Indian market away from Nokia. Even today majority of the portion of mobile phone market is owned by Samsung followed by previous leader Nokia. It was after several Indian companies like Lava, Karbonn and Micromax came up and gave a touch competition that the companies like Nokia and Samsung were forced to manufacture handsets which would be cheap and easily affordable. Now you can buy a brand new Smartphone at a price of Rs 4000.
The Indian mobile phone market has changed for the good. We hope there are more radical changes in the mobile phone market which will make the mobile phones available to weakest sections of the society.
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