Ravi Shankar Prasad is taking over as the new telecom and IT minister amid hopes of business revival in India. TelecomLead.com is presenting 10 suggestions to the new minister.
The country does not need too many new telecom guidelines from the minister, who has a strong law background as well. The new minister should focus on setting targets for his ministry and bureaucrats, while bringing more transparency in the system.
Indian telecom sector will not improve if the common man does not get hike in his / her daily wages. If the Indian population – 70 percent is under the 40-year age bracket – does not have purchasing power, mobile operators’ ARPU will not grow. If the ARPU does not increase, telecoms such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone, etc. will not invest substantially in networks. This means lower Capex.
Hence, telecom is a sector which needs the aggressive support of ministers of finance, labor, HRD, etc. This means that Narendra Modi, the 15th prime minister, needs to strictly monitor developments in telecom. After all, telecom investment will result into GDP growth, employment and productivity for other vital industry sectors as well.
Indian telecom has already benefited from increased penetration among the ordinary class. Some use cases: Fisherman takes orders on his mobile phone for his fish; school tuition center informs the parent about the absence of the student; mother tracks the movements of children.
Here are some of the suggestions for the new Telecom Minister
1) Ensure better quality of service (QoS) on voice and data services. Let mobile operators make more money so that they can improve their network and deliver better service.
2) Ensure telecom operators are investing a part of their profit in innovation and telecom start-ups.
3) Right to broadband coverage across the country. India does not mean Connaught Place of Delhi. Broadband should be available in remote villages of Kerala, Bihar and Orissa as well.
4) Punish telecom operators if they are advertising 3G at 2G rates and not offering 3G seamlessly. Implement strict guidelines to bring transparency in the way telcos deal with customers.
5) Raise the minimum broadband speed to 1Mbps
6) Spectrum hoarding should be a criminal offense
7) Obligations towards network rollout in 100 percent of their license area should be reduced to 1 year so that telecoms such as Reliance Jio Infocomm will be more serious about 4G LTE launches. Let Indians celebrate Modi’s win on smartphones as well.
8) More spectrum at reasonable rates should be available to telecoms
9) Ensure India’s security. There should be check on all telecom network vendors including Huawei and ZTE.
10) Encourage local manufacturing of smart phones. We can check huge money flowing to Korea, China from our smartphone users.