Mr. K. Alagesan CMD of ITI Bangalore
Dr. P. Sekhar
Chairman of MTGF, Global Smart Cities Panel
India has witnessed a transformation from an agriculture-based economy to a knowledge-based economy. This phenomenal growth in the heterogeneous service sector in India has been so rapid that today the country stands at number five in terms of tertiary sector output. The growth in this sector is much higher than that in the agricultural or the manufacturing sectors. Services, which is the fastest-growing sector in India has led to the simultaneous growth in GDP, employment generation, trade and investment.
The sole objective of this article is to make India a global Telecom HUB, for telecom services and equipment manufacturing Centre with huge investment and employment opportunity. India’s telecommunication network is the second-largest in the world by number of telephone users (both fixed and mobile phone) with 1,186.63 million subscribers and 604.21 million internet subscribers, as per the latest report. The telecom industry’s contribution to GDP is estimated to reach 8.2% by 2020, by when industry players are slated to also leverage 5G technologies to connect with global markets and ring in a fully networked, knowledge and services economy. A drastic and far-reaching change in telecommunications services in India has assisted the overall economic and social development of the nation. It has enabled better connectivity among users and greater use of information and communication technology (ICT) services and the emergence of a variety of new business models. Due to the length and breadth of the country, the wireless access network is the primary source for such connectivity.
The wider mobile ecosystem, it said, supported a whopping 32 million jobs (directly and indirectly) and also made a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector with nearly INR. 35.61 lakh crore (US$500 billion) raised through general taxation (before regulatory and spectrum fees). Telecommunication has supported the socioeconomic development of India and has played a significant role to narrow down the rural-urban digital divide to some extent. It also has helped to increase the transparency of governance with the introduction of e-governance in India. The government has pragmatically used modern telecommunication facilities to deliver mass education programs for the rural folk of India.
With daily increasing subscriber base, there have been a lot of investments and developments in the sector. FDI inflows into the telecom sector from April 2000 – March 2019 totalled to INR. 2.33 lakh crore (US$32.82 billion).
Postal means of communication was the only mean communication until the year 1850. In 1850 experimental electric telegraph started for the first time in India between Calcutta (Kolkata) and Diamond Harbor (southern suburbs of Kolkata, on the banks of the Hooghly River). In 1851, it was opened for the use of the British East India Company. Subsequently, the construction of telegraph started throughout India. A separate department was opened to the public in 1854. Dr. William O’Shaughnessy, who pioneered the telegraph and telephone in India, belonged to the Public Works Department and worked towards the development of telecom. Calcutta or the then Kolkata was chosen as it was the capital of British India.
In early1881, Oriental Telephone Company Limited of England opened telephone exchanges at Calcutta (Kolkata), Bombay (Mumbai), Madras (Chennai) and Ahmedabad. On the 28th of January 1882, the first formal telephone service was established with a total of 93 subscribers.
From the year 1902, India drastically changes from cable telegraph to wireless telegraph, radiotelegraph, radiotelephone, trunk dialing. Trunk dialing used in India for more than a decade were system allowed subscribers to dial calls with operator assistance. Later moved to digital microwave, optical fiber, satellite earth station. During the British period all major cities and towns in India were linked with telephones.
5G Smart Phone in India:
India had the highest average monthly data usage per smartphone, at 9.8 gigabytes (GB) by the end of 2018. Increasing numbers of LTE subscriptions, attractive data plans and changing video viewing habits among young people drove this growth. In Q1 2019, mobile data traffic grew 82% year-on-year. The high growth rate was mainly influenced by the increased number of smartphone subscriptions. Total mobile data traffic per month in India is expected to increase at a CAGR of 23% from 4.6 exabytes (EB) in 2018 to 16 EB by 2024. In India, 5G subscriptions are expected to become available in 2022 and will represent 6% of all mobile subscriptions at the end of 2024.
The success of the Telecom sector is very inspiring for the whole of the Indian economy. Like any other sector, Telecom sector also has its Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats, and Opportunities which have been identified as below:
- Fastest growing telecom market;
- Progressive reform process;
- The forward-looking approach of the Government;
- Technology neutrality;
- Formulation of policies in tune with the growth requirement;
- Fast adaptation of technological development i.e. Mobile Number Portability(MNP), Next-generation Network (NGN), 5G, 6G, and Broadband Wireless Access(BWA), IPv6, etc.;
- Establishment of Regulatory /Dispute resolution bodies;
- Framework for responsive Customer Grievance Mechanism;
- Liberal FDI policy;
- Enhancing the accessibility of telecommunication services at affordable tariffs to the consumers;
- Healthy competition resulting in the most affordable tariffs in the world;
- The policy of infrastructure sharing leading to optimum utilization of resources.
- Lack of indigenous Telecom Manufacturing and R&D;
- Comparatively slower growth of Telecom services in rural/remote areas;
- Low Broadband penetration in the country;
- Lack of local content/application development;
- Low profitability of Telecom PSUs.;
- High Cost of data hosting in India.
- For developing a new comprehensive Telecom policy;
- For accelerating the growth of teledensity in the country;
- For the creation of telecom infrastructure in rural and remote areas by PPP;
- For laying of Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) to uncovered areas and effective utilization of the existing resources to provide backhaul connectivity;
- For huge Broadband potential in the country;
- For R&D, product development and indigenous telecom manufacturing;
- Development of affordable equipment at the customer end;
- Adoption of emerging technologies.
- Dependence on foreign telecom equipment suppliers.
- Cyber threats on ICT networks, leading to security concerns.
- Obsolescence of existing network elements due to fast changing telecom technologies.
- Non-availability of adequate spectrum for telecom services.
Secured Governance for Telecom:
The concept of Telecom HUB is derived in tune from Secured Governance through a revolution that requires upturning all the procedures evolved through years of effort and experience. It realizes the tools for bringing about effective and sustainable changes in the system. The methodology has been evolved through hands-on experience in dealing with the industry and governmental system. When identifying and determining development potential within an economy a set of criteria is required against which to evaluate whether or not the effort being undertaken possesses development potential or not. The set of criteria serves as an evaluation tool to identify areas with potential for development and opportunities within each of the local economic sectors.
The Telecom HUB will definitely provide innumerable benefits in the following way:
- Telecom HUB supports production networks through its world-class infrastructure, where business facilities are supported by comfortable lifestyle amenities in the trade zone, and where the ‘green concept’ weaves through the perfect blend of business and social infrastructure throughout the Telecom Industrial Park;
- Telecom HUB will be the first public/private sector multi-product Telecom HUB, and this exclusive trade zones in India will be designed to benchmark with the best export zones and Telecom Industrial Parks across the globe;
- Telecom HUB will offer a common platform on which the communication enterprises and the telecom industries will be clubbed as one of India’s biggest embedded software/hardware development base.
- Telecom HUB will introduce new enterprises, Mobile application Development companies, Data Centres, Cyber Security Research Centre, Telecom research and Innovation Centre, Mobile VAS providers, Customer Premise equipment Manufacturers, Telecom Engineering and Training Institutes and centres, Network Equipment & Fibre Optics Manufactures, Mobile Tower Manufactures and Service Provides etc. all in one place. Seeking attractive foreign investment and fixed asset investment.
- The government can look to Telecom HUB to power its investment and growth and help boost employment, manufacturing, and services in the security domain;
- The competitive high-tech Telecom HUB supported by leading projects and enterprise groups will attract huge foreign direct investment (FDIs) for the security industries to help the government earn substantial revenue;
Advantages of Implementing Telecom HUB
- By using it’s domain expertise can play a very important role in building a Telecom / Nano‐Telecom HUBs exploiting its infrastructural strength and existing facilities;
- Investors with their expertise in specific telecom related field could be invited to work on a revenue-sharing model in collaboration with private parties;
- Once successful and a viable Tele / Nano‐Tele HUB is established there can be replicas of this successful model for all over India. This would set an example of others to follow;
Today we find the valuation due to infrastructure growth is not optimally channelized towards infrastructure development and results in inequalities in society. Secured Governance compliments the present PPP (Public Private Participation) developmental model, by ensuring a balanced participation of the private and public sector taking advantage of value and valuation of Telecom HUB thereby yielding higher returns. This valuation of infrastructure, which grows many folds needs to be shared by society and by the Government to support infrastructure development, ensuring balanced growth.
Secured Governance for Telecom will provide for high-quality commercial development along Telecom HUB, which serves as Techno-Economic HUB. These HUBs will be part of an existing or new development project. These HUBs will not only facilitate telecom users but also promotes commercial units generating employment and revenue from the defined region. Telecom HUBs aid to boost employment generation and sustainable investment opportunity in a big way. The Telecom HUB is expected to attract billion crore rupees over the next five years and generating millions of direct and indirect employment opportunities in region. With the robust outlook of the Telecom sector, it is expected that India will see private and foreign participation in the development and financing of Telecom HUB infrastructure, engineering services, equipment supply, and technology partnerships in digital communication.