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45,180 Indian villages do not have access to 4G

Nearly seven years after 4G services were launched in the country, 45,180 villages do not have 4G connectivity.

According to the answers by the Ministry of Communications at the Lok Sabha question hour, 7 per cent of Indian villages do not have a 4G mobile network. To bridge the connectivity divide, the Centre has earmarked around ₹48,000 crore to bring 4G mobile coverage to the unconnected villages.

Even as Indian telecom operators bring forth the 5G revolution, which includes plans to expand the 5G network to villages as well, a significant chunk of the Indian population still does not have 4G connectivity.

According to the answer by the Minister of State for Communication, Devusinh Chauhan, at the Lok Sabh Question Hour, out of 6.44 lakh Indian villages, 45,180 villages do not have 4G connectivity.

States and Union Territories such as Andaman and Nicobar, Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh, and Sikkim fare the worst, with no 4G connectivity in more than 50 per cent of villages.

The Ministry of Communications notified the Lok Sabha that the government and the telecom operators are providing connectivity to these villages in a phased manner.

The government is doing this through funding from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). These funds are being used to implement various schemes to provide 4G mobile coverage to all the uncovered villages in the country.

The 4G data revolution has opened a myriad of economic opportunities in the country, from India’s start-up boom to the ubiquity of UPI among the masses. The government is also attempting to use wide-ranging mobile connectivity to provide subsidies and social welfare schemes through the internet.

However, India still has over 350 million 2G users. Indian operators have not been able to reduce this number in a significant way, especially as this is a low ARPU market with poor financial returns for the operators.

While the government is trying to upgrade the State-owned telecom operator BSNL’s network to 4G, they have not made much headway, especially as BSNL is encountering payment issues with their network partner TCS. The Hindu BusinessLine

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