FDI into Indian telecom sector plummets to $2.668 bn

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Indian telecommunications sector has plummeted to $2.668 billion in 2018-19 from $6.212 billion in 2017-18 and from $5.564 billion in 2016-17.
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The Economic Survey 2018-19 released by the India government ahead of the Union Budget did not reveal the reasons for the sharp decline in foreign direct investment.

India has 1.17 billion mobile subscribers in 2018. Smartphone users increased 39 percent to 340 million in 2018. Average data consumption doubled from 4 GB to 8 GB per month between 2017 and 2018.

Internet subscribers grew 28 percent from 446 million in December 2017 to 570 million in November 2018, driven by rural internet subscriber growth of 49 percent.

India has 906 satellite TV channels, 1469 multi system operators (MSO), 60,000 local cable operators (LCO), 6 DTH operators and several IBTV service providers. 43 percent of all private satellite channels are news channels.

The 5G technology is an opportunity for India, according to the Economic Survey 2018-19. The government has plans to make India 5G ready by 2020 and conduct spectrum auction for providing radiowaves for 5G this year.

It said 5G will provide opportunity for the consumers to gain with the economies of scale and citizens to reap the benefits of doorstep governance and availability of services, medical support, benefits transfers, education, entertainment and build a digital payment, knowledge and services economy.

Telecom regulator TRAI has recommended the auction of about 8,644 MHz of frequencies across eight signal bands, including in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 3.3-3.4 gigahertz (GHz), 3.4-3.6 GHz etc, at an estimated base price of Rs 4.9 lakh crore.