It’s 25 years from the day the first mobile call was made in India, and against a per-minute call rate of Rs 24 charged then where both outgoing and incoming customers had to pay, India is now the highest data-consuming country in the world, but with some of the lowest voice and internet tariffs.
At a gathering to mark the event, special messages were issued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, where the industry was present through Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal (Vodafone Idea chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla was conspicuous by his absence, even though his name was there in the original event schedule).
“Then, connectivity, was a privilege. Now, it is a tool for empowerment,” Modi said in a special message that was read by COAI director-general S P Kochhar. “From voice calls to webinars, from 2G to 5G, from digital elitism to digital democracy, the journey of digital connectivity has covered an astonishing distance,” the PM added.