The telecom industry body GSMA on Wednesday mobile will contribute almost $400 billion to India’s GDP, create 4.1 million additional jobs and invest $9 billion in India’s infrastructure, with $34 billion contributed to public funding by 2020.
GSMA has also urged telecom ministry headed by Kapil Sibal to rework existing telecom policies and release more spectrum. If the government releases more spectrum, it will benefit telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, Vodafone, etc.
Mobile Economy India 2013, developed by the GSMA in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group reveals the mobile ecosystem generated approximately 5.3 percent of GDP for India, directly supported 730,000 jobs and an additional two million jobs when points of sale and distributors are included in 2012.
3G and 4G adoption is projected to increase 31 percent from 107 million 3G and 4G connections in 2013 to 409 million connections in 2017.
Anne Bouverot, director general, GSMA, said the Indian government’s target of increased rural coverage would be supported by a more flexible spectrum policy, particularly the release of more frequencies in the bands below 1 GHz and the development of allocation processes that do not focus solely on maximising short-term spectrum fees.
The report identified three regulatory policy areas that require particular attention:
GSMA says approximately 60 percent of the relevant spectrum is yet to be allocated and large blocks specifically identified for mobile are occupied by other sectors.
To increase the efficiency of spectrum use, the government is urged to clear the way for market-driven sharing and trading of spectrum resources. The government is also encouraged to adopt lower spectrum reserve prices. TRAI’s recent proposal is a step in the right direction.
Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) Levy
India has one of the world’s highest universal service levies – five per cent of operating revenues – which would benefit from a full review.The government should focus on fostering public-private partnerships for the implementation of projects and seeking alternative funding sources, rather than constraining industry development with ineffective financial mechanisms, such as the USOF levy.
Balanced and Evidence-Based Radio Frequency Emissions Requirements
The recent regulation adopted by the Indian government goes beyond global standards, increases network costs and can reduce service quality. Best practice for radio frequency limits, based on International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and endorsed by the World Health Organization, should be followed instead.
Enabling Power of Mobile
Increased penetration of mobile technology in India will bring with it many socio-economic benefits. In agriculture, mobile solutions improve yields and support farmers with enhanced contact with markets. Greater access to healthcare and reduced mortality are also facilitated by mobile solutions, while mobile technology brings financial services to rural and underserved communities.