Speaking on the Telecom Leadership Forum, 2021, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) Secretary Anshu Prakash extended his support to the telecom sector. Further, he presented a positive outlook to the next decade, stating that the decade will “leverage telecom infra and digital technologies”.
Slow Start, Bright Outlook of the 2020s
Anshu Prakash noted that the decade did not start at the pace everyone would have liked. However, he noted that the telecom and digital economy “came out as a knight in shining armour”. In the face of the adversity and the global slowdown, the strong comeback from telecom industry is commendable.
Pointing to the new tech emerging in the present, he noted that 5G and AI will change lives in this decade. On the same lines, he also noted that many new businesses will emerge from these two verticals.
Furthermore, the keynote speaker at TLF 2021 noted that the industry “have to work for a future in this sector which makes our networks safe secure and reliable”, in the 2020s.
The secretary listed out a variety of plans which are in the works at the department.
- Facilitating, Regulating and Leading 5G rollout: 5G is upon the Indian market as telcos race each other to be the first to bring 5G out. DoT will facilitate, regulate and lead the rollout in the country.
- 10 year Spectrum Roadmap: The 5G spectrum is a critical resource of the network. Although it is central to 5G rolling out, the pricing could be really prohibiting and hindring to the same. DoT plans to reach out to TRAI to reconsider spectrum pricing and that is a step in the right direction. However, the upcoming 5G spectrum auction will have a few surprises in store. On that not, the secretary said that the roadmap will come soon.
- Guidelines for PLI for Telecom Products and Infra: A few weeks ago, the cabinet approved PLI scheme for telecom sector. This scheme can provide a huge boost to manufacturing in the country. What’s more, this scheme will potentially generate 40,000 jobs. DoT Secretary, at TLF 2021 said that the guidelines for the PLI scheme are coming in the next 15 days.
- M2M Guidelines: Machine to Machine (M2M) is an important aspect of AI, Machine Learning and IoT. The secretary said that an interaction will happen within 10-12 days with the industry from the DoT. Furthermore, the Secretary said that DoT will expect feedback and suggestions from the industry.
- BharatNet: this is the Government’s project to reach 3.5 lakh villages with optical fiber wireless broadband. However, the progress is slow and recently, the parliamentary committee slammed the same. Along with this, National Broadband Mission (wireline and wireless) will stay in the picture for better proliferation of the rural heart of India.
Challenges Faced by DoT
With the advent of 5G, Machine Learning and IoT will fast become the norm across the world. As such, India will not be isolated from this trend. Currently there are no frameworks in place for the same and that is one of the challenges faced by DoT. Speaking at the TLF 2021, the DoT Secretary noted that these frameworks will be worked on soon and the telecom department will expect “industry leaders to reach out with suggestions and feedback”.
Second major issue is Cyber Crime. With 5G coming in, the scale and surface area of cyber attacks will only increase given the faster speeds and lower latency. This poses a great cybersecurity threat. Therefore, the Department of Telecom is looking for ways to detect, mitigate and rectify these cyber attacks which will pose a difficult challenge to the telcos as a whole.