Telecom services have been recognised the world over as an important tool for socio-economic development of a nation. It is one of the prime support services needed for rapid growth and modernisation of various sectors of the economy. India is currently the world’s second-largest telecommunications market and has registered exceptional growth in the past few years. The reasons for growth of the telecom sector in India are reform measures by the Government of India, active participation of the private sector, and wireless technology.
The National Telecom Policy 2012 (NTP-2012) was announced with the objective to maximise public good by facilitating reliable, secure and affordable telecommunication as well as broadband services in India. This along with the deregulation of foreign direct investment (FDI) norms have made the telecommunications sector one of the fastest growing and a top five employment opportunity generator in the country. The telecommunications sector attracted FDI to the tune of US$ 14,163.01 million in the period April 2000 – March 2014.
India’s GSM operators added 2.58 million rural subscribers in April 2014, taking the total to 297.16 million. Also, Cellular Operators Authority of India’s (COAI) data suggests that the overall GSM subscriber base increased by 4.97 million in April 2014 taking the total GSM subscriber base to 726.90 million customers.
The COAI data also suggests that telecom provider Bharti Airtel provided the most number of customers in the month of April, about 990,000 new subscribers followed by Vodafone and Idea Cellular.
It has been predicted by Ericsson that India's mobile subscriber base will grow from 795 million in 2013 to 1145 million subscribers by 2020.
Data traffic powered by third-generation (3G) services grew at 146 per cent in India in 2013, higher than the global average, according to an MBit Index study by Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN).
With Bharti Airtel becoming the second largest telecommunications provider in Nigeria and Tata Communications entering into strategic partnerships with countries such as Australia, Germany, Austria and Malaysia, it can be observed that Indian telecommunication providers are doing quite well in the global market.
The telecommunications sector in India is rapidly growing and due to its potential, there has been a number of investments in the recent past. Some of the notable few are as follows:
The Government of India has taken several initiatives to boost the telecommunications sector in India. Some of the recent notable initiatives are as follows:
To propel the Indian economy forward, the government is using the telecom industry as an effective channel to reach and serve its citizens. The NTP-2012 has targeted 100 per cent tele-density and 600 million broadband connections by 2020. It has visualised doubling the current telecom capacity and increasing its reach to 95 per cent of India while providing broadband level of internet capability.
DoT is promoting a vision of ‘green telecom’ by which it plans to convert 50 per cent of urban and 30 per cent of rural towers to renewable energy. Various policy initiatives by the Indian government have led to a complete transformation of the industry in the last decade. It has achieved a phenomenal growth during the last few years and is poised to grow further. It has also been speculated that this sector will generate about 4.1 million additional jobs by 2020.
Exchange Rate Used: INR 1 = US$ 0.01687 as on June 5, 2014
References: Media Reports and Press Releases, Cellular Operators Authority of India (COAI), Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Department of Telecommunication (DoT), Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP)