India will play a “decisive role” in the 5G era, given the country’s digital and software capabilities, says SK Gupta, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Secretary.
S K Gupta further said, the high reliance on imported telecom equipment has been a source of concern, both financially and in terms of security, and a well-planned approach to indigenous development will be the way forward. He added dependence on the import of telecom equipment is a cause of concern.
“The heavy dependence on the import of telecom equipment has been a point of concern, given financial impact and security implications, and a well-planned and focused approach on indigenous production “will be the way forward,” said S K Gupta
He also pointed out that this heavy dependency is particularly happening when the existing global supply chains are getting disrupted and new opportunities are emerging in telecom development.
“While there has been an exponential growth of telecom networks, we are hugely dependent on the import of telecom equipment. Telecom imports have been in the range of 1 lakh crore plus every year which is a point of concern,” S K Gupta said. The focus now is on boosting the production of equipment in India and becoming self-reliant.
He said, as current global supply chains are disrupted and new opportunities in telecom development emerge, the government’s call for Atmanirbhar Bharat is well-timed.With its strengths in tech and digital infrastructure, India will play a significant role in the modern generation of 5G and related technologies.
S K Gupta said given India’s ability base, domestic market size, and technology focus, the country is an attractive prospect for global manufacturers. India’s FDI regime and PLI (Production Linked Incentive) for telecom equipment are expected to boost the manufacturing ecosystem in the country, attracting significant investments.
S K Gupta stated that India has a robust digital landscape with 1.2 billion telephone subscribers, 1 billion Aadhaar digital ID holders, and 800 million internet subscribers.
“Data usage has also increased to 11 GB per month per subscriber. Bharat Net is one of the world’s largest fibre roll-out programs, with six lakh villages expected to be linked as part of this flagship initiative. We deliver these services at much lower costs and with higher quality,” said S K Gupta.
(The story is based on inputs from Bloomberg Quint)