COAI chief Rajan Mathews urges telecom ministry to release 500 MHz spectrum to ensure better broadband

COAI director general Rajan Mathews on Friday urged the telecom ministry to release 500 MHz of spectrum to ensure widespread broadband access. He was speaking at a mobile VAS seminar in Gurgaon, Delhi-NCR.

Welcoming the recent VAS guidelines announced by telecom regulator TRAI, he said the mobile industry needs to rethink on revenue sharing model between operators, application providers and the government.

The telecom industry body chief said that the operators should be allowed to use spectrum in the way they consider best rather than the government forcing it on them as it involved huge costs that would impact service charges.

TRAI member RK Arnold said the country needs to examine the fact that less than 40 percent of the Indian population has the connectivity and out of which about four percent are having smartphones.

COAI chief Rajan Mathews at VAS event

“Mobile data could generate revenues worth Rs 40,000 crores by 2015.  To achieve these numbers we need to look at the bottom of the pyramid where Mobile VAS will be most useful and economical,” said Rakesh K Upadhyay, chairman & managing director, BSNL.

Shyam Mardikar, Chief of Strategy, Architecture and Engineering at Bharti Airtel said that new innovations are overtaking several traditional services like SMS. For instance, messaging applications have depleted dependence on SMS, he said.

Mardikar said new services like M-Wallet, M-health services, are changing the market scenario. Text books are being replaced by wireless access to books that makes knowledge available to a much larger mass at low cost.

“The possible fall in profitability for the operator as voice was substituted by data was a matter of concern,” said Pradeep Shrivastava, CMO, Robi Axiata, the third largest operator in Bangladesh.

Nepal Telecom MD Amar Nath Singh said the smartphone growth in Nepal will drive demand for VAS.

Wataniya Telecom Maldives CEO Haroon Shahul Hameed said Maldives already achieved 180 percent phone penetration and the country is gearing up for 3G growth.

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