Will India Mobile Congress 2017 bring more investment?

India Mobile Congress 2017 inaugurationIndia Mobile Congress 2017 – a telecom event that went live in Delhi today — has generated much-needed encouragement among telecom operators to make more investment in improving network quality and customer experience.

The event witnessed the sharing of stage by Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal and Reliance Jio Chairman Mukesh Ambani. Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao was absent. But Vodafone shared the message from Vittorio Colao. Telecom minister Manoj Sinha and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also attended the largest telecom event in India.

Sunil Mittal spoke about Airtel’s plans to make Rs 20,000 crore investment this year. Both Mukesh Ambani and Vittorio Colao did not make any announcement related to investment. Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone made announcements about their partnerships. Nokia, Huawei, Videocon, MediaTek and Sterlite Tech announced their technology solutions.
India Mobile Congress 2017 DelhiDeloitte brought out an excellent book on investment potential and regulatory needs of telecom operators. Deloitte said mobility will power six sectors — eCommerce, digital finance, healthcare, media and entertainment, logistics, and agriculture technology in India.

What’s promising for India?

# Current internet penetration in India is 33%
# Rural internet penetration is 16%
# 350 million smartphones will be added by 2020
# India has broadband penetration of 23% with over 300 million subscribers
# Rise in broadband penetration to 60% in India will bring 6% increase in GDP
# Nearly $70 billion investment expected for 5G
# IoT market value will be $9 billion, with installed base of 1.9 billion by 2020

Communications Minister Manoj Sinha said India telecom industry is expected to generate revenue of $38.25 billion by 2017, registering a CAGR of 5.2 percent during 2014 to 2017.
Spectrum holding per operator per service areaThe above chart prepared by Deloitte indicates about the availability of spectrum with Indian telecom operators.

Investment in the telecom sector has increased by 220 percent in the last four years. Operators have rolled out more than 0.2 million sites in the last 15 months by adding one new site every 3 minutes in India. But telecom operators recently conveyed to regulator TRAI that they need more time to ensure quality.

Telecom and IT presently contribute 16.5 percent to the GDP, and there are immense possibilities for increasing its share even as other sectors also show robust growth. Several financial analysts are cagey about growth in India’s GDP. India’s GDP growth will be nearly 7 percent in 2017 and this can impact the revenue growth of telecom sector as well.

With NTP 2018, Indian telecom market will cross the Rs 6.6 trillion revenue mark by the year 2020 itself. Manoj Sinha earlier said NTP 2018 will focus on applications and not connectivity.

Aruna Sundararajan, secretary of DoT, said there was 7-fold acceleration in the implementation of Bharat-Net Project for connecting one lakh Gram Panchayats with broadband by the end of the year.

Similarly, there is a target of 1 million wi-fi hotspots by 2019 and 700 million internet users in India by 2022.

Baburajan K