I guess now everyone has gone through NTP 2011 Draft proposal posted couple of days back. I was fortune to go through it early, but decided to discuss key trends & issues only recently.
NTP-2011 is certainly a welcome step. Last decade saw tumultuous rise of Telecom Sector in India & it’s something we didn’t foresee either. DOT Com burst & rise of telecom sector was just coincided well. We didn’t look back until the dark clouds of Scams & Scandals put breaks on growth of our industry. We don’t have clear guiding policy on utilization of telecom raw material aka spectrum & we are paying price for that.
Anyways, NTP has certainly given some hope amid turbulent times in Industry. NTP really talks well about number of key areas. Let me list some of them:
- Broadband Penetration.
- Telecom mergers & acquisition.
- Domestic telecom gears manufacturing.
- Telecom convergence & way forward.
- Human Capital Development for convergence.
- IPv6 & Cloud Computing for Telecom.
- Rural penetration, teledensity & USO fund utilization.
- Green Telecom & telecom infrastructure policy.
- One Nation-One License-One Circle.
- Better Spectrum management for growth etc etc.
These things are not put up priority wise. But depending on organization focus this could be sorted out.
How many of you see things listed out above as disruption to existing telecom framework? Let me elaborate:
Broadband on Demand doesn’t speak much about how we are going to build On-demand network. Existing 3G & forthcoming 4G do support Broadband Speed on wireless, while FTTH assures better quality & very high speed of broadband. Which way to go? Are we going to lay fiber more & connect town or what?
Broadband-the term itself can be misleading at many times. Broadband inherently speaks about providing high speed data services to customers & there’re different ways to achieve it. Does policy speaks about it clearly? Existing system rarely demonstrate such high speed on wireless media but coming years will change it completely. Have we aligned our business goals to policy requirements?
Now come to Spectrum management. I have literally talked a lot about it long back. But do businesses have potential to tackle spectrum re-farming if placed? Aren’t network rollout obligations going to change with this? Isn’t Spectrum re-farming a disruption? How are we going to use spectrum in 800-900 band additionally? Most of the times, we start few years after policy is in place & enaction period is about to expire. Spectrum issues should be treated as disruption as they potentially threaten out network rollouts & servicing obligation completely.
See below how vague the policy speaks on spectrum availability:
Make available additional 300 MHz spectrum for IMT services by the year 2017 and another 200 MHz by 2020.
Is that enough? We need to understand this deeply.
Somewhere I got to read this confusing statement:
Promote the domestic production of telecommunication equipment to meet 80% Indian telecom sector demand through domestic manufacturing with a value addition of 65% by the year 2020.
We need to elaborate more on this.
Telecom M&A is another thing. I do see that there is little clarity about this yet, but certainly M&A are going to spur chances of surviving companies more. It’s a positive disruption.
One Nation-One Circle. Roaming free nation. Have we seen potential damage to our businesses due to such move? Roaming freeIndiamight be welcome move among Indians, but as far industry is concerned we are going to lose business on roaming charges. Are we prepared for this? What’s plan?
I wouldn’t prefer to talk about Green/alternative fuel measures for supporting telecom infrastructure. This is ongoing process & every business has right to develop its own carbon credit policy & gains on that. Be ready for more on this.
In India, in my opinion, policy has played significant role than what we have always imagined. We perhaps tend to undermine things on policy part until we see surprises coming from draft basket. I often see policy as a disruption more than anything else, even more than technology innovations. We always have to keep close eye on what Department is thinking about this. Unless policy is conducive for business we shouldn’t be indulging ourselves in that market segment, so be in broadband or green telecom or telecom R&D. Keep close watch to plan for better!