Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha has statedthat the Indian telecom industry is seeing a paradigm shift from a voice centric market to a data-centric market and it is expected to cross Rs 6.6 trillion revenue mark by 2020.
"While voice business still contributes a large chunk towards operator revenues, data revenues have shown an exponential growth trajectory over the last few years, he said.
He further disclosed that mobile data traffic has grown siginificantly by 76 percent in India in 2016. This however, has been primarily attributed to the increased smartphone penetration and growing use of smartphones, especially in urban areas. This has therefore increased the usage of internet on hand-held devices in 2016. He said that559 megabytes of mobile data was generated per month by an average smart phone, up from 430 megabytes per month in 2015.
Likewise, consumption of video content is also forecasted to reach 75 percent of India's mobile data traffic by 2021, compared to 49 percent in 2016.The Minister also pointed out that Indian Government had launched the 'Digital India' initiative in July 2015 which had three broad targets - providing Digital Infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen, Governance, and Services on Demand as well as Digital empowerment of citizens.
"The projects under the 'Digital India' initiative was 'BharatNet', launched to deploy high-speed optical fiber cables to connect 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayat across the country by 2018. This project would also help in increasing the fiberized sites in India which currently stands at less than 20 percent as compared to other developed countries. The project is being implemented in Phases, with more than 100,000 gram panchayats connected under Phase-I as of July2017 and states like Kerala, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh neared 100 percent completion," Sinha pointed out.
The Minister also outlined the major achievements of the Indian Telecom Industry-
· Over 400 million internet users.
· FDI quadrupled in FY 2016-17 recording inflow of approximately $ 5.6 billion.
· Greater than 20 percent tower sites now diesel free.
· Rural Tele density increased by 30 percent over the last five years.
· More than 3/4th of the data consumption was from 3G/4G.
· Telecom industry generates over 4 million jobs direct and indirect.
· LTE device ecosystem grew by 270 percent from 2015.
· 38 new mobile manufacturing units set up since September 2015.
· 30 new locations added to 'Smart City' mission in June 2017, total count reaches 90 smart cities.
· The government, is also working aggressive to connect 54,000 unconnected villages and would speed up its efforts after getting due reports from all states.
· There is the inter-ministerial group to look into the financial health of the sector.
Meanwhile, Secretary, Telecom, Aruna Sundararajan said that in tune with the vision of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is attempting to do nothing short of charting a new digital strategy for growth.
She said that new Telecom Policy will be a key building block for achieving the growth target of 10 percent from the current 7.6 percent as Telecom and IT are the two sectors contributing to 16.5 percent to the GDP, and there are immense possibilities for it to go up to 25 percent.