New Delhi: India is currently the second largest telecom market in the world with 1.2 billion consumers, Manoj Sinha, Minister of State (Independent Charge) Communications, said at the opening of India Mobile World INC in New Delhi.

Speaking at the first ever India Mobile INC (IMC) organised in the capital, Sinha said, “Investment in the sector has increased 220% in the last four years. Telecom creates four million direct and indirect jobs”.

According to Sinha, “Connecting the next billion Indians to the worldwide web is the single biggest opportunity in India. For India, 5G provides an opportunity for the industry to reach out to the global market as India has constituted a high-level 5G forum.”

Manoj Sinha (from the archives)

With an aim to make India a strong definitive voice in global communication forum, the 3-day IMC kicked off at Delhi’s Pragati Maidan with Sinha inaugurating it on Wednesday. Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan and top industrialists from the telecom industry converged at the programme.

On the occasion, highlighting the price-affordability of data service, Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Pradhan said, “Today, because of the healthy competition between Sunil Mittal (Airtel) and Mukesh Ambani (Reliance), we are getting free talk time. As they say, data is the new oil. From a distance, I can see the dynamic impact of telecom in India over the past two decades”.

Predicting a better prospect for India in the telecom sector, Mukesh Ambani, chairman, Reliance Industries, said, “The country has missed out on the first three industrial revolutions, namely mechanisation, mass production and automation. However, there is still a chance for India to jump into the fourth industrial revolution which is fueled by connectivity, data and artificial intelligence”. He further said that the pace at which the Indian mobile industry has grown is unparalleled in the world and in next 10 years, the economy will grow from a $2.5 trillion economy to a $7 trillion and rank among the top three economies in the world.

Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad said that India does not want to miss the digital revolution and it will finalise a new IT policy and a new e-Commerce policy very soon.

UK eyes partnership with Digital India

The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT), which is partnering at the IMC, has brought a strong delegation of eight UK technologies companies and specialists. The UK, along with Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and Department of Telecom, will organise a three-day conference to create a unique distinctive global platform for the telecommunication and allied industries in India.

Showcasing the UK’s achievements in the technology sphere, Alexander Evans, Acting British High Commissioner to India said, “The UK is investing £740 million from the National Productivity Investment Fund to ensure Britain remains at the forefront of digital innovation. Our trade delegation demonstrates our technological prowess, including leaders in state-of-the-art wireless connectivity solutions, satellite networks, data intelligence and digital skills platforms. We want to bring our cutting-edge technology and innovation to partner with initiatives like ‘Digital India’ and the smart cities programme”.

The high commissioner further said, “India is one of the largest technology investors in the UK and I see an immense opportunity to buttress this two-way partnership with both public and private players in India.”

Rajan Mathews, Director General of COAI said, “We are delighted to have the UK on board as a partner for IMC 2017. As the world’s second-largest telecommunications market there is much that India can do for the UK in the areas of information and communications technology and vice versa. India and the UK together have the potential to revolutionise many areas including financial technology, cybersecurity, skill development, as well as the research and development in the sector through innovation.”