Department of Telecommunications (DoT) secretary MF Farooqui has shared his views on latest telecom policies in India.
In a chat with Baburajan K of TelecomLead.com, DoT secretary said the focus of the forthcoming merger and acquisition (M&A) policy would be to simplify regulation and assist the industry to grow further.
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Telecom towers – approximately 700,000 — are diesel guzzlers. Currently mobile industry associations are working with consultants to look at both deployment and financial aspects.
DoT secretary says the sector needs to achieve both green (CO2) targets and financial viability through this exercise. The sector will be encouraged use renewable energy alone or a combination of renewable energy and diesel or power. Telecom operators will be encouraged to set up their own solar / wind plants to generate power.
India has literally given up on giving thrust to local manufacturing by putting on hold the Preferential Market Access (PMA). This – a section of the industry feels – will give more opportunities to foreign telecom vendors like Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE, Nokia Solutions Networks (NSN), Alcatel-Lucent, etc. In addition, U.S., Europe and China will benefit from delaying PMA.
But DoT secretary says decision to delay PMA was not aimed at assisting countries or foreign telecom vendors. PMA guidelines will undergo changes. The new changes are designed to focus on utilizing the strong capabilities of India’s ecosystem. It will give boost to software sector and manpower driven assembly of products here. Ultimate objective of PMA will not be changed.
By encouraging local manufacturing, telecom vendors in India should be able to achieve economies of scale. Innovation, global supply chain and economies of scale are vital to sustain in the telecom manufacturing in the country.
Several telecom operators are in the process of rolling out 3G to boost their mobile data revenue. But many telecoms are not meeting 3G speeds. Also, several pockets in Delhi, for example, do not get adequate 3G access, reflecting poor quality of service to mobile customers.
DoT secretary says 3G will grow now. He considers that 3G is still evolving and will reach more places soon.
India auctioned broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum in 2010. Reliance Industries (RIL)-owned Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel, etc. have spectrum to run 4G LTE services using TD-LTE technologies. But 4G is in a nascent stage. After conducting auction three years ago, Reliance Jio Infocomm got permission this year to offer voice services utilizing BWA spectrum, creating criticism from a section of the industry about DoT policies.
DoT secretary says the technology is neutral and the department’s decisions were not aimed at supporting one particular company or one technology. 4G technology is evolving. Less stricter roll out obligations are aimed at utilizing the evolving technologies.
The telecom department is keen to work with the industry and resolve all issues. DoT secretary says the current initiatives are in the right direction to take the Indian telecom industry to the next level.