Currently, India is the world's
second-largest telecommunications market with a subscriber base of 1.16 billion
and has registered strong growth in the last decade. The Indian mobile economy
is growing rapidly and will contribute substantially to India's Gross Domestic
Product (GDP). Recently, India surpassed the US to become the second largest
market in terms of number of app downloads.
The liberal and reformist policies of
the Government of India have been instrumental along with strong consumer
demand in the rapid growth in the Indian telecom sector. The Government has
enabled easy market access to telecom equipment and a fair and proactive
regulatory framework, that has ensured availability of telecom services to
consumer at affordable prices. The deregulation of Foreign Direct Investment
(FDI) norms have made the sector one of the fastest growing and the top five
employment opportunity generator in the country.
The total number of internet
subscribers increased from 778.09 million in March 2021 to 782.86 million in
India is also the world's
second-largest telecommunications market. The total subscriber base in the
country stood at 1,203.47 million in April 2021.
Gross revenue of the telecom sector
stood at Rs. 68,228 crore (US$ 9.35 billion) in the third quarter of FY21.
Over the next five years, rise in
mobile-phone penetration and decline in data costs will add 500 million new
internet users in India, creating opportunities for new businesses.
With daily increasing subscriber base,
there have been a lot of investment and development in the sector. FDI inflow
into the telecom sector during April 2000 – March 2021 totalled US$ 37.66
Some of the developments in the recent
- Elon Musk's
SpaceX has started accepting pre-orders for the beta version of its
Starlink satellite internet service in India for a fully refundable
deposit of US$ 99. Currently, Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is
screening the move and more developments will be unveiled soon.
Idea Ltd. (VIL) announced that the acquired spectrum in five circles would
help improve 4G coverage and bandwidth, allowing it to offer 'superior digital
experience' to customers.
Television Systems Committee (ATSC) and Telecommunications Standards
Development Society, India (TSDSI) signed a deal to boost adoption of ATSC
standards in India in order to make broadcast services available on mobile
devices. This allows the TSDSI to follow ATSC standards, fostering global
digital broadcasting standard harmonisation.
- BSNL, in
partnership with Skylotech India, announced a breakthrough in
satellite-based NB-IoT (Narrowband-Internet of Things) for fishermen,
farmers, construction, mining and logistics enterprises.
- In the first
quarter of FY21, customer spending on telecom services increased 16.6%
y-o-y, with over three-fourths spent on data services. This spike in
consumer spending came despite of the COVID-19 disruption and lack of
access of offline recharges for a few weeks
- India had
over 500 million active internet .
Platforms Ltd. sold 22.38% stake worth Rs 1.04 trillion (US$ 14.75
billion) to ten global investors in a span of eight weeks under separate
deals, involving Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista, General Atlantic, Mubadala,
Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), TPG Capital and L. Catterton. This
is the largest continuous fundraise by any company in the world.
30 June 2021, there are 1180.83 million wireless subscribers including inactive
users in India according to Telecom
Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
Sanchar Nigam Limited
The Government has fast-tracked
reforms in the telecom sector and continues to be proactive in providing room
for growth for telecom companies. Some of the key initiatives taken by the
Government are as follows:
- The Rs.
12,195 crore (US$ 1.65 billion) production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme
or telecom is expected to bring in investment of around Rs. 3,000 crore
(US$ 400.08 million) and generate huge direct and indirect employment.
government pointed out that firms such as Ericsson and Nokia are now eager
to expand their operations in India, and global companies like Samsung,
Cisco, Ciena and Foxconn have expressed interest to set up their
manufacturing base in the country for telecom and networking products.
- In March
2021, TEPC (Telecom Equipment Export Promotion Council) organised India
Telecom 2021—a platform for convergence of technologies and business
- The Union
Cabinet approved Rs. 12,195 crore (US$ 1.65 billion) production-linked
incentive (PLI) scheme for telecom & networking products under the
Department of Telecom.
- In 2021-22,
the Department of Telecommunications has been allocated Rs. 58,737.00
crore (US$ 8 billion). 56% allocation is towards revenue expenditure and
the remaining 44% is towards capital expenditure.
- Under Union
Budget 2021-22, the government allocated Rs. 14,200 crore (US$ 1.9
billion) for telecom infrastructure that entails completion of optical
fibre cable-based network for Defence services, rolling out broadband in
2.2 lakh panchayats and improving mobile services in the North East.
- India and
Japan signed an MoU to enhance cooperation in the field of Information and
Communications Technologies. The MoU was signed between the Union Minister
for Communications, Electronics and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad, and the
Japanese Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications, Takeda Ryota.
Department of Telecommunications (DoT) issued Notice Inviting Applications
(NIA) for auction of Spectrum in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz,
2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz and 2,500 MHz bands. Last date for submission of
applications for participation in the auction is February 5, 2021, and
auction to commence online from March 1, 2021.
- The Union
Cabinet approved a proposal by Department of Telecommunications for
setting up of Public Wi-Fi Networks by Public Data Office Aggregators
(PDOAs) to provide public Wi-Fi services through Public Data Offices
(PDOs) also the provision of submarine optical fibre cable connectivity
between Mainland (Kochi) and Lakshadweep Islands (KLI Project).
government approved the Production Incentive Scheme (PLI) for Large- scale
Electronics Manufacturing. The scheme proposes production-linked incentive
to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in mobile
phone manufacturing and specified electronic components including
Assembly, Testing, Marking and Packaging (ATMP) units.
Revenue from the telecom equipment
sector is expected to grow to US$ 26.38 billion. The number of internet
subscribers in the country is expected to double by 2021 to 829 million and
overall IP traffic is expected to grow four-fold at a CAGR of 30% by 2021.
India is expected to become the
fastest-growing telecom advertisement market, with an annual growth rate of 11%
between 2020 and 2023.
The Indian Government is planning to
develop 100 smart city projects, and IoT will play a vital role in developing
these cities. The National Digital Communications Policy 2018 envisaged
attracting investment worth US$ 100 billion in the telecommunications sector by
2022. App downloads in India is expected to increase to 18.11 billion in 2018F
and 37.21 billion in 2022.