Telecom Panel Discussion @IIFT Delhi :: Opportunities and Challenges of the Future

Friday, February 19, 2010 Posted by nitesh

From the heavily regulated and the infamous waiting lists era of the 70’s to emerging as the most dynamic mobile telephony market in the world in the current decade, India’s trailblazing telecom leap has left the world gasping in awe. The transformation of the sector has been in close sync with India’s economic transformation into a confident young nation aiming high on the world table.

With millions of additions per year and close to 20% CAGR over the past few years, the sector has been truly the sunshine sector of post 1995 Indian economy booming with the highest growth rates in the world, unmatched by any country of comparable scale. As the regulatory climate improves and private players invest aggressively in nationwide network deployments, the growth is only expected to keep rising. The expansion of India's telecom industry has led to an "all-inclusive growth" of the Indian economy in terms of GDP growth, employment and government revenues.

Apart from the rapid increase in subscribers and the mind boggling array of tariff plans directed at every segment of the massive consumer base, the telecom industry has provided ‘communication independence’ to every Indian, especially in rural India, by providing means to keep in touch at affordable rates, something which five decades of regulated fixed line telephony could not achieve. While subscriber growth is predicted to gradually slow down as the market saturates, a phenomenon already being seen in some metros of the country, a combination of factors such as acceleration of fixed-to-mobile substitution, expansion of rural market coverage, increasing competition resulting in the introduction of innovative cellular service packages, new path breaking VAS models, and cheaper entry-level handsets can stimulate future growth.

While the growth of the sector envisions good for the economy and the country, on the flip side, with an ever increasing number of operators fighting for the same telecom pie, costly price wars exacerbated by the recent pay per second tariff plans, painfully slow progress on new spectrum allocations and delays in technology rollouts can play spoilsport to some extent. Another striking feature of the India telecom space is the lack of major domestic integrated hardware players catering to the sector, unlike China for example.

Going forward, as the country demands more developed, mature and integrated data and communication needs, the demand for unified communication need on par with the latest technologies and value added services is only bound to increase. With the technology world seeing a greater than before integration in Communications, IT, Enterprise Management and other services to provide always-on and always available applications, opportunities for telecom firms to integrate with businesses and emerge as integrators shall increase. Investing in other emerging telecom markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America is also a strategic option to keep the revenues growing.

Against this dynamic backdrop accentuated by the fast changing telecom and IT landscape, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) is organizing a panel discussion to set a platform for exchange of knowledge and ideas among leaders from the major telecom companies and subject matter experts on the industry to deliberate on the topic “Indian Telecom Sector: Opportunities and Challenges of the Future”.


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