Telecom sector to attract $100 b by 2022 : Aruna

Telecom sector to attract $100 b by 2022 : Aruna

Aruna Sundararajan

Despite facing many challenges, the telecom sector offers ample growth potential to ensure profitability, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said on Thursday.

She said that $100 billion investment in telecom and digital communication sector was not an over-estimate compared to opportunities and growth in the sector in the coming years as the government is working on to roll out 5G.

Speaking at a panel discussion on 'Digital Infrastructure for Transforming India' organised by Broadband India Forum, she pointed out how China and the world at large are committing huge investments in the digital communications space, given that nearly everything - from education and healthcare, and livelihoods to entertainment -- will be delivered on the digital highways.

"The global spend on telecom is expected to touch $4 trillion, and China is spending around $ 188 billion every year on digital communications infrastructure...For 5G alone, China's budget is expected to be of $500 billion. Estimates suggest that the impact of 5G on global GDP can be a potential doubling of GDP and so countries are infusing investments in telecom infrastructure," she said.

The Department of Telecom while announcing the National Digital Communication Policy 2018, said it aims to attract $100 billion in investments in telecom and digital communication sector by 2022.

Sundararajan asserted that digital infrastructure has to be the crux of India's growth strategy as no other sector has the ability to match its positive spin-off on productivity and individual well being.

The government has taken a number of reforms in the sector including doubling of fibre, base trans-receiver stations, public data office and removing of cascading taxation, she said.

Addressing the event, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said digital transformation would hold the key for India to aspire for 9-10% of economic growth sustained over a three-decade period or more.

"At present, we are growing at 7.5% and the challenge is to grow at 9-10% year after year for three decades or more. The answer lies in digital infrastructure for sustained growth and transforming India," Kant said.

He said that key objective before India is growing to $1 trillion digital economy by 2022, overcoming challenges of connecting the unconnected, and increasing fiberisation of mobile towers.

"While India has a massive base of mobile phone users, the internet and broadband penetration still remains low. Just 48% of Indians have access to it, while true broadband has reached only about 33%. So a significant part of the country remains unconnected either through the benefit of mobile or internet," he said.