Mobile coverage is likely to be extended to all the 55,669 unconnected villages in the country over the next five years. At present, 5.41 lakh villages out of the total 5.97 lakh in India are covered by mobile services, leaving 55,669 out of the ambit — that is 9.31 percent without coverage. “Mobile coverage to the balance uncovered villages is likely to be provided in a phased manner over five years,” Minister of State for Communications Manoj Sinha said. Odisha tops the list with villages still off-limits for any mobile network at 10,398, followed by Jharkhand 5,949 and Madhya Pradesh 5,926. Also Read - Vodafone CEO Nick Read to visit India this week; will seek bailout: ReportAlso Read - BSNL agrees to lay off 54,000 employees, but waiting for elections to be over: Report
While Maharashtra has it at 4,792, Chhattisgarh’s reads 4,041. The corresponding figure for Andhra Pradesh stands at 3,812 while Arunachal Pradesh comes in with 2,886, Assam 2,885 and Bihar 2,534 villages. The Department of Telecom has taken several measures for expansion of telecom services in rural and remote areas, including chalking out a comprehensive telecom development plan for the North-East as well as setting up of mobile towers in the Left wing extremism affected states at a total estimated cost of Rs 3,567.5 crore.
Additionally, Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL) has been tasked with preparation of a detailed project report for provision of mobile services in 4,752 villages in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and 2,138 in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana.