Telecom sector can attract $100 bn investment under NTP 2018: TRAI


New Delhi: The telecom sector should be able to address global requirements and attract investments of about $100 billion by 2022 under the new policy in works, as per suggestions made by sector regulator Trai on Saturday.

The regulator recommended that under the new policy framework, the telecom sector should be able to generate 20 lakh jobs, achieve 900 million broadband subscriptions with download speed of 2 Mbps and connect all gram panchayats with at least 1 gigabit per second with wireless broadband by 2022. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) reiterated its long pending demand of putting in place an ombudsman based consumer grievance redressal mechanism “by end of 2018”.

The regulator in March 2017 had recommended DoT to set-up ombudsman in the sector, which should have the power to levy penalties on the telecom service providers. The Department of Telecom had sought views of Trai on National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2018 on August 21, 2017. The regulator listed out seven broad missions and 18 objectives that should be achieved under the NTP 2018.

Trai said that the NTP 2018 should be able to enable access at affordable prices for wireless broadband services, including through satellite to 90 per cent population and there should be 65 per cent active unique mobile subscribers by 2022. The teledensity in the country is around 91 per cent but the total number of subscribers include individuals with multiple mobile connections. Trai said that the vision of the new telecom policy in works should be developing a competitive, sustainable, and investor-friendly information and communication technologies (ICT) market for rollout of state-of-the-art ubiquitous digital communication infrastructure. “…to provide resilient, reliable, affordable, and consumer friendly products and services to meet local as well as global needs; and in the process, transform India’s knowledge economy, support inclusive development, foster innovation, and stimulate job creation,” Trai said.

The regulator recommended that the mission of NTP 2018 should include development of “indigenous technologies, equipments, platforms, and applications ecosystem for providing digital services to local and global markets”.

Trai has recommended that NTP 2018 should aim to make the sector net positive in international trade of communication systems and services by 2022. It said that mission of the sector should attract investments by enhancing ease of doing business through simplification of licensing and regulatory frameworks, rationalisation of taxes, levies and related compliances, and facilitating availability of resources, including spectrum.

The regulator said that NTP should be able “to attract an investment equivalent to USD 60 billion in communication sector by 2020 and $100 billion by 2022”. The foreign direct investment in the sector during first half of current fiscal has been to the tune of $6.08 billion. Trai said that an online centralised platform should be created by 2019 for facilitating single window clearance for rolling out telecom infrastructure in the country.

Under the NTP 2018, the telecom sector should be able to deploy 2 million public wireless local area network, including Wi-Fi hotspots in the country by 2020 and 5 million by 2022, enable access for connecting 1 billion internet of things (IoT)/ machine-to-machine sensors or devices by 2020 and 5 billion by 2022 and establish a policy framework for facilitating setting up of data centres by 2019.(PTI)

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