New Delhi: The government is planning to carry out a pilot project to find the actual number of mobile telephone users in the country, which according to the operators stands at 670 million now, reports PTI.
The decision comes amid reports that the subscriber numbers reported by the operators were incorrect and does not give a true picture of the number of actual mobile users in the country.
In a the meeting of the Telecom Commission held last week, it was decided that "...an exercise should be done on pilot basis in a representative area to know the actual number of active users as against the number of active SIMs in that area."
At present the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) releases subscriber figures as recorded in the Home Location Register (HLR) of the telecom service providers. It gives record of total number of SIMs sold and not active subscribers.
A HLR is a database of user (subscriber) information, customer profiles, used in mobile (cellular) networks. HLR counts multiple SIM issued to an individual as a separate connections.
Based on HLR record, TRAI stated that the total number of wireless subscribers in the country reached 670.60 million in the country in August.
The Visitor Location Register (VLR) data gives the details of active customers at a given point of time. VLR is more authentic in knowing the active subscriber numbers.
Although no official figures are available for non-active subscribers, some estimates show that actual number of subscribers may not be more than 500 million.
This, however, could not be ascertained either from the government or operators.