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Gearing up for next generation of telecom reforms

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The intrinsic promise in the slogan, achhe din aane wale hain, is a commitment towards higher growth, stable inflation and jobs. Services sector has to fire at higher levels to meet the government GDP growth target of 5.9%, up from less than 5% levels seen in last two financial years.

By-  Himanshu Kapania

The telecom sector has to return to its vibrant state to meet the PM’s vision of accelerated infrastructure development in both urban and rural areas.

With a mere 64% overall telecom penetration, the country needs to sustain the momentum of telecom investment in rural voice telephony to tap the bottom-of-pyramid market, around 300-350 million unconnected Indians.

With the Prime Minister’s desire to build robust & high capacity ‘I-Ways’ to support the growth of high speed mobile broadband and meet the plan for rural internet and e-governance, the government in a coordination with the DoT, defence and finance ministries has to identify larger quantum of spectrum to meet country’s data capacity growth projections from current 50 Petabytes per month to 500 Petabytes per month in next three years.

The telecom sector is at present is facing financial stress. The sector would need a push from the finance minister to attract fresh investments. Mobility is no more about privileged access, but is an essential infrastructure service.

The sector is committed to participate in ensuring stable inflation and offer the world’s lowest voice & mobile data tariff. But the consumer suffers with the highest duty & levies amounting to 22-26% (including service tax, licence fees, spectrum usage charges).

The industry was looking forward to announcement of lower taxes and, thus, is surprised with the introduction of additional 10% customs duty on mobile infrastructure equipment. As operators, we welcome the intent to encourage telecom equipment manufacturing in the country, but the government need to focus on technology transfer and skill development rather than raise cost of mobile investments in the country.

With the Prime Minister’s desire to build robust & high capacity ‘I-Ways’ to support the growth of high speed mobile broadband and meet the plan for rural internet and e-governance


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