The front page news in Times of India said Delhi will soon join other cities in the 10 m mobile users club. Used to thinking in crores for Indian population, I quickly reckoned that 10 m is 1 crore, which used to be the population of whole of Delhi a few years back.
Intrigued by the headline, I continued and read the whole story for any fine print I could gather. And this interesting piece was given in story itself — that out of 15m of Delhi residents, about 4.5m are less than 10 years old. Even if assuming every one in five children in Delhi has a mobile — 1 in five, because we are liberally ignoring the technical details like infants who cannot even speak yet much less hold a mobile to their ears — the maximum no of mobile users for Delhi can be about 11m.
Is that a lot of progress in mobile revolution, or the number counting is fishy, or a journalist has gone overboard in reporting? I mean for above to be true, every auto driver, rickshaw puller, sabji wallah, must be having a mobile connection. And I am sure that is not what saw when I visited Delhi last. We may not have 100 % literacy, but this is pretty much close to 100 % mobile penetration for the adult population of Delhi.
People will make their own conclusions about this number being touted. But it seems that the idea mooted by TRAI of subscriber verficiation does hold water. It is quite possible that large subscriber additions are being touted by mobile operators, and are being gulped down by public without questioning. It cannot be true that India has relatively less telecom penetration, and at the same time also be true that one of the major metros has almost complete mobile penetration.