Crashing data tariffs, free voice calls, troublesome entry of Reliance Jio and a no-holds-barred turf war to safeguard Rs 9 lakh crore worth of cumulative investments have set the tone for a year full of action 2017 for the telecom sector, which also needed to ponder the thorny issue of call drops this year.
If anything, the high-voltage narrative of 2016 has left mobile subscribers craving for more in the coming year both in terms of tariffs which have touched new lows, and technology. 4G has boosted mobile speeds to levels never experienced before by the data-hungry Indians.
“About Rs 9,27,000 crores have been invested so far by telecom service providers (TSPs) in building world class telecom infrastructure,” said industry body COAI‘s Director General, Rajan S Mathews.
Incumbent telecom operators in representations throughout the year have shared how their incomes have taken a hit on different accounts ranging from TRAI‘s decision to bar differential tariff platforms like Facebook‘s Free Basics, Airtel Zero, to Reliance Jio unleasing free services.
Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP Partner Hemant Joshi said however that the restriction on discriminatory tariffs has played a critical role to make data services affordable and accessible by everyone and is one of the important factors behind the rising adoption of data services in India.
The telecom regulator’s recent proposal to allow third party platforms to give free data without bias towards a specific telecom operator or internet content is likely to revive the debate on net neutrality in 2017.
Looking back, the going year began -off with a setback- of-sorts for consumers when the Supreme Court subdued penalty provision for call drops, provoking the regulator to seek more powers to penalise errant telecom operators.
The Telecom Department and regulator launched a joined offensive — in form of review meetings and drive tests – to guarantee that service quality issues stay at the forefront all through the year.
To address the problem of call drops, operators have added about 3.51 lakh BTSes in recent 12 months, according to Mathews.
Other than this, TRAI keeps on taking a shot at audit of administration quality standards, ombudsman model, and interconnection all of which are relied upon to come to fruition in 2017.
There was always exciting things happening for the telecom segment this year, and the market throbbed with activity because of enhanced moderateness, falling handset costs and administrator interests in enhancing system scope (helped by arrangements like Right of Way and range deal).
The year saw India overwhelming US to wind up distinctly the world’s second-biggest cell phone showcase with an introduced base of 275 million gadgets. It has additionally anticipated that 4G associations will develop to 280 million by 2020.
As indicated by worldwide versatile industry body GSMA, India will include 330 million special supporters by 2020 (from 616 million interesting clients as of June 2016). Likewise, the industry is set to contribute vigorously, with administrator capex developing to $34 billion somewhere around 2016 and 2020, says GSMA.
On the off chance that anything, demonetisation and computerized push – bringing about expanded reception of versatile wallets – will put the market on a turbo charge, say industry watchers.
As of now, the normal Indian is expending information – motion pictures, gaming, associating via web-based networking media – more than ever, in the repercussions of the business value war activated by the section of India’s wealthiest agent Mukesh Ambani in the telecom business.
Jio, which propelled undeniable 4G benefits in September, has guaranteed free voice calls for life alongside absolute bottom information costs, once its progressing free administrations arrive at an end on March 31, 2017.
The market’s craving for information can be gaged from the way that Ambani had set an objective of 100 million clients in the “most brief time conceivable” for Reliance Jio, however the new pursuit scored 52 million clients in only 83 days, becoming quicker than Facebook and WhatsApp.
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Sameeksha Bhardwaj, From ITvoir News Desk