India’s telecom minister: Offer free mobile voice services and charge for data

Telecom Lead India: India’s telecom minister Kapil Sibal also mooted a joint working group of industry and the Indian government to realize the broadband vision for inclusive growth.

The minister said the government will complete the national optical fiber network (NOFN) by December 2013.

According to the telecom minister, Indian mobile phone operators must move from voice- based revenue model and customers should gradually be charged only for data services and not for making calls. Indian telecom operators need to change their mindset by moving away from voice services to data.

The government is investing around Rs 35,000 crore on various broadband related projects which will create a secondary market of around Rs 3 lakh crore, Sibal added.

R Chandrashekhar, secretary, Department of Telecommunications, called for collaboration at all levels so that an entire ecosystem is created so as to realize the full potential of broadband.  There was need for a lot of innovation and entrepreneurship.

The government will ask mobile service providers to immediately stop providing 3G data services outside their licensed zones through roaming pacts with each other, Chandrashekhar told reporters on the sidelines of Broadband Summit 2012 organized by CII and Department of Telecom.

J Satyanarayana, secretary, Department of Electronics & IT, said setting up a seamless, national information infrastructure was critical to ensure that economic benefits flow to the last mile. The decider, he said, would be how many people are being reached or how many people are users.

Robert Pepper, vice president, Global Technology Policy, Cisco, informed that more traffic will traverse global networks in 2016 than that from the beginning of internet till today, combined. India’s IP traffic is forecast to grow 11 times that in 2011, a CAGR of 62 per cent, by 2016. Internet users are expected to rise to 502 million in the same period.

N Ravi Shankar, administrator of USOF, said the industry needs to focus on the transformational aspects of the NOFN. Since the idea is to connect the 250,000 gram panchayats in the country, he suggested a public-private-panchayat partnership for achieving the targets and goals set by the National Telecom Policy 2012.

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