NEW DELHI: If surrendering of landline phones connections is an indicator of upward mobility, then south India must be ‘most mobile’ with Tamil Nadu leading the pack. As per the data collated by the Ministry of Communications and Information technology, Tamil Nadu has surrendered 2,41,752 BSNL landlines in 2011 itself.
It is followed by Andhra Pradesh (1,61,361 surrenders), Karnataka (1,48,424) and Kerala (1,42,413).
The number of surrenders in the previous years since 2008 was high with figures hovering between 4 to 5 lakhs in the case of TN and Andhra Pradesh. It was in the range of 3-4 lakh in Karnataka and Kerala.
The only other state which has witnessed similar pattern of landline surrenders as in the case of the southern states is Maharashtra where 2,40,752 landline connections were given up in 2011.
The states with least number of landline surrenders in 2011 are Jharkhand (8,757), Bihar (13,374), Chattisgarh (13117) and Assam(16948).
The main reason for surrenders, according to a Ministry official, is the expected substitution of telephone lines by mobile phones.
“There is a strong link between the number of surrenders and the number of new mobiles purchased,” said an official. According to him, the other reasons often cited include unsatisfactory service, economic factors and surrender of extra landlines in case of multiple telephone connections.
When asked about the huge disparity between the southern states and the northern states when it comes to the surrenders, the official said that the reason could be closely connected to the urbanisation process or upward mobility.
“The socio-economic indicators of the southern states are better than that of the rest of the country. Naturally, the spread of any new technology is wider in the case of south Indian states when compared to northern states. Accordingly, the spread of landline phones are much wider in southern states. So naturally, one can expect higher surrenders as the spread of mobile phones is also on the higher side in the south,” the official added. As per the figures, there is not a single village in TN and Kerala without a basic landline. The BSNL, however, is quite worried about the high number of surrenders with revenues and profit falling drastically. The official said that BSNL had hired a market research firm to study the matter.
“Now the BSNL is making all the right noises to check the surrenders, as per the suggestions made by the marketing body,” said the official.