It has been a quarter of a century since Kerala reached the limits of mobile. The first mobile phone call in Kerala was made on September 17, 1996. The mobile phone arrived in Kerala 23 years after the invention of the world's first mobile phone. The use of mobile phones in India had started two years earlier.
Mobile of Kerala
Hotel Avenue Regent, Ernakulam. Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, a Malayalam writer, is sitting on the hotel stage, unaware that he is pioneering a technology that will change the world in the future in Kerala. Next to him is Kamala Suraya alias Madhavikutty. Thakazhi has a tool in his hand. Until then, it was a wonderful thing for the Malayalees who had only talked to people far away through landlines - mobile phones. Thakazhi dialed a number on the phone in his hand. In the distance, Vice Admiral AR Tandon, Commander-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Forces, picked up the phone and handed it over to Madhavikutty after Thakazhi spoke. Madhavikutty also spoke to Tandon. Thus, Malayalam began to travel through mobile phones for the first time.
The first company was Escotel
Escotel is the first mobile service provider in Kerala. Escotel was a joint venture between the Escorts Group of India and First Pacific Company Limited of Hong Kong. About a thousand mobile phones were booked in the first three weeks. Although it was inaugurated in September, Escotel launched its service in October. BPL Mobile also reached Kerala in the same year. Escotel was later acquired by Idea.
Initially, incoming calls were charged. Initially, a mobile phone cost around Rs 50,000. Outgoing calls were charged at Rs 16 per minute and incoming calls at Rs 8. In 2003, incoming calls were made free. It is now a free call system for data-based plans. At present, it is estimated that there are around 4.5 crore mobile phone subscribers in Kerala. There are about 18,000 mobile towers in Kerala.
First in India
On July 31, 1995, the then Chief Minister of Bengal, Jyoti Basu, launched the mobile service in India by calling Sukhram, the Union Minister of Communication at the Sanchar Bhavan in Dalgi, at the Writers' Building in Kolkata. The service was owned by Modi Telstra. The mobile service arrived in Kerala a year later.
The first in the world
The mobile phone was invented by Dr. Martin Cooper of Motorola. He first spoke on a mobile phone on April 3, 1973.
Mobile phones have given way to smartphones. Internet data has become the most powerful medium in the world today. Five years ago, it was Rs 160 per GB of data and now it is Rs 10.77. The major changes have taken place since the launch of the Reliance Jio Mobile Telecom service on September 5, 2016. Vodafone and Idea merged to become the 'Vi' to keep pace with Jio, overtaking BSNL, Airtel, Idea, and Vodafone, which had dominated the market until then.
Currently, Vodafone Idea (Vi) has the largest number of subscribers in Kerala - 1.67 crore subscribers. BSNL has 1.08 crore subscribers, Jio has 1.07 crore subscribers and Airtel has 68.39 lakh subscribers. With the advent of mobile number portability, the number of customers switching to more service providers has also increased.