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Published by Khushboo Mehta

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Published by: Khushboo Mehta on Dec 21, 2011
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 Telecommunication is thetransmissionof information over significant distances tocommunicate. In earlier times, telecommunications involved the use of visual signals, such asbeacons,smoke signals,semaphore telegraphs,signal flags,and opticalheliographs,or audio messages via coded drumbeats, lung-blown horns, or sent by loud whistles, for example. Inthe modern age of electricity and electronics, telecommunications now also includes the useof electrical devices such astelegraphs,telephones, andteleprinters,the use of radio and microwave communications,as well asfiber opticsand their associated electronics, plus the use of theorbiting satellitesand the Internet.A basictelecommunication systemconsists of three primary units that are always present insome form:
Atransmitterthat takes information and converts it to asignal. 
Atransmission medium,also called the "physical channel" that carries the signal. Anexample of this is the"free space channel". 
Areceiverthat takes the signal from the channel and converts it back into usableinformation.Communications signals can be either byanalog signalsordigital signals.There areanalog communicationsystems anddigital communicationsystems. For an analog signal, the signal is varied continuously with respect to the information. In a digital signal, the information isencoded as a set of discrete values (for example, a set of ones and zeros). During thepropagation and reception, the information contained in analog signals will inevitably bedegraded byundesirable physical noise.(The output of a transmitter is noise-free for allpractical purposes.) Commonly, the noise in a communication system can be expressed asadding or subtracting from the desirable signal in a completelyrandom way.This form of noise is called
"additive noise"
, with the understanding that the noise can be negative orpositive at different instants of time. Noise that is not additive noise is a much more difficultsituation to describe or analyze, and these other kinds of noise will be omitted here.Broadly speaking, technologies of mobile telecommunications and Internet are going to setthe contours of further technological progress in the current decade and the next. The mostrecent initiative aims at convergence of voice and data received from multiple sources, bothweb based and real time video streams, in mobile handheld devices. Global satellite systems,mobile handsets and calling cards have made virtual presence possible almost everywhereand anywhere overcoming the barriers of distance, topography and remoteness.
There has been phenomenal growth in mobile subscribers in the world in the nineties,increasing from 11 million in 1990 to 941 million by the end of 2001. In 1991, less than oneper cent of the world population had a mobile phone. The proportion has grown to thevicinity of one phone per every six people by the end of 2001. Similarly, one-third of the totalnumber of countries of the world had cellular network in 1991. The ratio rose to over 90 percent by end-2001. Considering that the fixed telephone lines numbered just over a billion inthis year, it is likely that mobile phones would surpass fixed line in 2002. It is interesting toobserve that China has surpassed USA to become the largest mobile market of the world. InAfrica, mobile subscribers outnumber fixed line subscribers in more than half the countries.Mobile telephony has emerged as the major growth driver in this sector. But for expansion inmobile network, there would have been hardly any growth in telecommunications in manycountries. In developed countries, mobile phones have complemented fixed lines whereas inmany developing countries with low-level fixed line penetration, mobile has alreadysurpassed fixed lines filling up supply gaps created due to inadequate growth in the latter. Ithas
 been observed that ‘the ability of a country to grow its mobile network to the point where
it overtakes the fixed-
line network is not a function of its wealth…the crossover point can
come as low as a fixed teledensity of 0.4 (for instance, in Malwai) to as high as 75 (the case
of Luxembourg) and at any point in between’.
 There are three important economic implications of mobile explosion for the developingcountries. First, by offering a viable techno-economic alternative it is helping in improvingtelecom penetration bypassing shortages of fixed lines. Consequently, it is bringing alongwith it all concomitant economic benefits of enhanced telecom accessibility. Second, it ispromoting a better entrepreneurial culture and supporting employment generation throughproliferation of kiosks. Third, there has been a shift in investment burden from state to privatesector and the consumers.Cellular mobile telephones subscribers in India increased from 77 thousand in 1995 to 3.6million in 2000. By March 2002, it has grown to 6.4 million. Cellular subscribers inproportion to total number of telephone subscribers (basic plus cellular) has increased from0.6 percent in 1995 to 14.6 percent in 2002. This is still lower than the average of 24.6percent achieved by the low-income countries in 2001. The corresponding ratio for lowermiddle-income countries is 41.8 percent, 52.8 percent for upper middle-income countries and50.2 percent for high-income countries. India is yet to experience mobile explosion of thescale other countries have seen. One would expect a rapid growth in mobile telephony incoming decades. India has also achieved significant quality upgradation of its network in the90s. Digital lines in proportion to total number of main telephone lines have increased from87 per cent in 1995 to 99.8 percent in 1999.
Like mobile, the last decade witnessed phenomenal growth in Internet usage. In 2001, 95 percent of the countries were connected to Internet compared to 15 per cent in 1990. There areabout half a billion Internet users in the world in 2001with subscribers numbering anestimated 230 million. It is also interesting to note that in 1995 Internet users in developedcountries were seven times more than the number of Internet users in the developingcountries. In 2001, this gap has narrowed down to less than four times.DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDTotal Tele-density stood at 39.86 per cent.-density came in at mere 3.22 % whereas wireless subscription contributed91.9 % of overall Tele-density.ubscription in Urban Areas was at 328.55 Million and Rural subscribers increased to136.27 Million.country will witness continued urbanization. The urban population is expected to rise from 28per cent to 40 per cent of total population by 2020.population of one million or more.
It has been observed that ‘growth
in the number of new telephone subscribers has far
exceeded the growth in the global economy’ in the last twenty years. This shows that
aggregate growth alone does not determine telecom expansion and there may be need to look at composition of growth as well. However, influence of economic structure on telecomexpansion (or for that matter on achievable level of tele-density) does not find explicit
consideration in today’s literature on telecom economics as much as the other two factors,
i.e., competition and technology. One plausible reason could be because of the importancethat has been attached to income gap as a factor explaining digital divide. Moreover, incomegap, by itself subsumes differences in certain structural characteristics and therefore diverts
the focus of attention from structural gap to income gap. Proponents of ‘income determinism’
may stop short of addressing structural factors because of their primary concern regardingincome transfer between the developed to the developing countries as the only way to addressthe problems of digital divide. Structural issues, on the other hand, are more pertinent to the
 believers of ‘leapfrogging’ capabilities of the countries who are on the wrong side of the
divide. It is for them that the present paper goes on to prove that the effectiveness of directpromotion of telecommunications as a complementary policy to overall macroeconomicreforms will be determined in an important way by how structural issues in the economy areaddressed.

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