Telecom key driver of growth: Dr. RK Upadhyay, C-DoT

Telecom is a key driver for economic growth, contributing 9% to GDP. It contributes around 4 million jobs, and more jobs can come in once 5G use cases happen.

Pradeep Chakraborty
New Update
Telecom as growth driver.

Telecom as growth driver.

At the Telecom Leadership Forum's inaugural session, Pradeep Gupta, Chairman, CyberMedia Group, said that we had started V&D in 1994. We will complete 30 years in July 2024. There have been many fascinating changes across the Indian telecom industry. Today, there is more of data and very less of voice across networks. The telecom industry also rose through the challeges of Covid-19, and delivered. We had remained connected during that time. We should be looking at many things in the future, as outlined.


Telecom key driver of growth

Dr. RK Upadhyay, CEO, C-DoT, stated that the collaborative split is pushing us to make more innovations. India has over 850 million users on the Internet. Telecom is a key driver for economic growth, contributing 9% to GDP. It contributes around 4 million jobs, and more jobs can come in once 5G use cases happen. We had a fast rollout of 5G. We connected 738 districts, with 131 million customers. We will be moving further. The government and the industry has shown how we can move, and work together. We will have the equivalent of Nokia and Ericsson from India within the next two years.

Auctions were completed within 42 days. Work has been in done on RoW. Minister also announced regulatory sandboxes. It also came up with the new Telecom Act. It is a very forward-looking act. Government has also taken up lot of other things. The electronics market today of about $140 million is mainly coming from outside. Government needed to set up the value chain, and came up with PLI scheme by Meity and DoT. DLI scheme was also made by Meity and DoT. Electronics production should reach $300 billion by 2027. 

Mobile manufacturing hardly used to happen here. Today, we are producing $50 billion worth mobile phones for India. Of this, $15 billion is from exports. Dickson in Noida has a modern facility. There are many other such facilities. Value addition from India is expected to rise in future. FDI also rose by 150%. Government has also allowed FDI of 100%.


Going forward

Going forward, India needs to take the lead in future telecom standards. Soon, we will see our own 4G and 5G standard products. Tejas has produced world-class equipment. We signed an agreement with Qualcomm, where we need to design products. Startups will not be charged any license fee. Government is also coming up with fabs, ATMP, and OSAT facilities.

We also have technology development fund. We have received about 200 proposals. We fill also be funding six chips that will be made in India. They may be manufactured either at TSMC or PSMC, which has already come into India.

We still have 26 million 2G phones. Government is developing Bharat Phone for Rs. 1200 that run ion 4G networks. Cyber security is also very important. We have always been able to control most of the attacks coming towards India. In quantum computers, we are looking at quantum communications. DST has come up with Rs. 6000 crores for National Quantum Mission. R&D also has to take a multi-level jump. Government has set up NRF or National Research Fund. 


We now need to build standards. Vendors put in standards, and standard-essential patent (SEP) needs to be added to all the other standards. We also need to take a lead to push standards into the 3GPP body. We are also holding WTA and GSS in Bharat Mandapam this year. 

We are also using AI to control cyber frauds. We have already disconnected about 80 lakh connections using AI. We have further integrated the platform with WhatApp and Meta. Bank accounts are also getting frozen. 5G has now delivered. Operators are also working on developing footprints. Use cases are coming up. We look forward to healthy growth in the coming years. 

India’s space odyssey

Lt. Gen. AK Bhatt, Director General ISpA, noted that space is happening in India. Earlier, Gurkhas used to try and jump off planes, sometimes, without parachutes. Man's forays into space started around 1945. The V2 missiles were created by a German scientist. America planned operation Paper Clip. They picked up the scientists from Germany, to the USA. Van Bron, and another 150 scientists were taken to America. Russians took another 500 scientists. The first space landing was later done by Russia. This is the history!


Today, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk dream about taking people to the moon and Mars. The cost of sending anything in space, is the rocket. Musk has made such a rocket. In 2020, scientists were called to talk about space in 2060. The best use case is: there could be humans living on the moon and Mars. There could be international space stations with humans also involved in manufacturing. Solar power could be beamed down to the earth. All of this requires lot of disruptive technologies. 

Communications need to be terrestrial, and in space. In 2020, Indian government opened up the space segment to the private players. InSpace was made to promote, authorize, and regulate space. By end-2022, and 2023, we have seen startups coming up. A startup is having the launch of Agnikool. ISRO has been there since the last 60 years, and an ecosystem is also there.

Today, startups talk about regulations, funds. Government has announced a space policy in 2022, which is very forward looking. An FDI policy has also come that is very liberal, from 51% to 100%. 


EutelSat OneWeb has launched 648 satellites in LEO. It is providing communications in some parts of the world. Service will be available to India very soon. Starlink is on the threshold of coming into India. Satellite communications can reach where terrestrial communications cannot reach. Demand is increasing quite a bit. 

Reusable rockets are now being used, especially, by SpaceX. It has reduced the cost to 1/5th. Also, GEO was present earlier. There was a latency problem. Now, it has come down to LEOs, and latency has been removed.

Focus on network!

Digvijay Sharma, Senior Director Sales, Ciena India, said the network has never been more important. Complexity, scale, capacity, etc., are all increasing. Connectivity was the first generation. Then came content and data-driven, in second generation. Now, we are seeing Networking 3.0, which is creating platforms to drive digital economy. 


Services are now all available as apps. We need strong cloud and connect platforms to make that happen. Cloud platform create a ubiquitous user experience. Architecture is also changing from core to the edge. We are now building next-gen connect platforms in India. We need lot of capacity, and the network needs to be much more scalable. 

India's ARPU is perhaps the lowest in the world. We need cost-effective networks. We have to make the networks reliable, consistent, and redundant. We need networks that are scalable and programmable. Networks need to be much flatter and sustainable. Ciena's R&D focus is on environmental reliability, and sustainability targets to achieve. Optical spectrum is also very important.



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