On this day, 25 years ago, the then Union Telecom Minister Sukh Ram and Chief Minister of West Bengal Jyoti Basu spoke to each other using handheld mobile devices. The move ushered in a new communication revolution in the country and is widely recognized as the first time a mobile phone was used in India.
The call made between Writer's Building in Calcutta and Sanchar Bhavan in New Delhi was carried over Modi Telstra MobileNet service. At the time, Modi Telstra was a joint venture between Telstra (Australian Telecom Giant) and India's Modi Group. Modi Telstra was one of eight companies licensed to provide cellular services in India.
Since then, telecommunications have come a long way. Today, India is the world's second-largest market for mobile phones, with the total number of connections crossing the one billion mark. The country has also become the biggest player in the smartphone game, having one of the most competitive markets in the world.
Last year, smartphone sales in India reached a total of 148 million units. The country is considered one of the most important markets for OEMs. There are has also been a massive uptake in the number of smartphone OEMs that have reiterated their comment to provide "Made in India" smartphones, which is aimed at helping create new employment opportunities for Indians.
2020 also marks the beginning of a paradigm shift in the smartphone industry, as smartphone OEMs and telecommunication companies veer away from 4G and begin to embrace the next generation technology standard for cellular networks, '5G'. Reliance Jio has already announced plans to kick start the 5G revolution in 2021, with commitments to create a global telecommunications ecosystem with India at the centre.