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Mobile data traffic grew by 76%, tele-market to cross Rs 6.6 trn by '20

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NEW DELHI: Communications minister Manoj Sinha has said consumption of video content is forecast to be 75 per cent of India’s mobile data traffic by 2021, compared to 49 per cent in 2016.

He said the Indian telecom industry has seen a paradigm shift from a voice centric market to a data-centric market. While voice business still contributes a large chunk towards operator revenues, data revenues have shown an exponential growth trajectory over the last few years.

Speaking at a workshop on Telecom India here, the minister said that by the end of 2016 the number of internet subscribers in India was 391.50 million making India globally the 2nd highest in terms of internet users. He added that mobile data traffic also grew by 76 per cent in India in 2016, primarily attributed to increased smart phone penetration. This growing usage of smart phones, especially in urban areas, has increased the usage of internet on hand-held devices – in 2016, 559 megabytes of mobile data was generated per month by an average smart phone, up from 430 megabytes per month in 2015.

Sinha said advancements in innovative IoT technologies like health monitors, smart transport, smart meters among others, is projected to result in 21 per cent increase in M2M services. These advances will result in a significant growth of mobile data, and as the telecom sector moves to newer technologies, TSPs will need to identify innovative avenues to monetise this data opportunity. He said the Indian Telecom Market is expected to cross the Rs 6.6 trillion revenue mark by the year 2020.

Sinha said that one of the projects under the ‘Digital India’ initiative was ‘BharatNet’, launched to deploy high-speed optical fiber cables to connect 250,000 Gram Panchayat across the country by 2018. The project is being implemented in Phases, with more than100,000 gram panchayats connected under Phase-I as of July 2017 and states like Kerala, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh nearing 100 per cent completion.

This project would also help in increasing the fiberized sites in India which currently stands at less than 20 per cent as compared to other developed countries.

Major achievements of the Indian telecom industry, Sinha said, include over 400 million internet users; FDI quadrupled in FY2016-17 recording inflow of approximately $ 5.6 billion; greater than 20 per cent tower sites now diesel free; rural tele density increased by 30 per cent over the last five years; more than 3/4th of the data consumption was from 3G/4G; tje telecom industry generates over 4 million jobs direct and indirect’ LTE device ecosystem grew by 270 per cent from 2015; and 38 new mobile manufacturing units set up since September 2015.

He added that the government was working aggressively to connect 54,000 unconnected villages and would speed up its efforts after getting due reports from all states. An inter-ministerial group is looking into the financial health of the sector.

Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said India is attempting to do nothing short of charting a new digital strategy for growth. She said the new Telecom Policy will be a key building block for achieving the growth target of 10 per cent from the current 7.6 per cent as Telecom and IT are the two sectors contributing to 16.5 per cent to the GDP, and there are immense possibilities for it to go up to 25 per cent.

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