Voice&Data Telecom leadership Forum

RS Sharma, Manoj Kohli, Dr. Anand Agarwal conferred Voice&Data Leadership Awards

India’s leading telecom magazine Voice&Data on Friday named Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman Ram Sewak Sharma as the Telecom Person of the Year for 2019.

The award was conferred for the leadership and visionary role played by him during the extremely challenging time in the Indian telecom sector.

“His role as the regulator of the country’s telecom sector, and the balancing act in protecting both industry and consumer interest will go long way in synchronizing the aspirations, ambitions, and capabilities of the industry and the citizens of this country,” the Telecom Person of the Year citation stated.

Voice&Data also named Softbank India Country Head Manoj Kohli for the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2019, while STL Group CEO Dr. Anand Agarwal was conferred the Pathbreaker of the Year Award.

“The Voice&Data Awards 2018 Jury was unanimous in its recognition of the ‘leading by example and tireless role’ that Manoj Kohli played in the formative stages of the Indian telecom industry, especially during the critical phase when the policy and market uncertainty challenges seemed to be insurmountable,” the citation of Life Lifetime Achievement Award for 2019 stated, adding that the award was conferred on him “for his stellar contribution to the Indian Telecom industry over its lifetime.”

The Pathbreaker of the Year Award for 2019 was an acknowledgment of the pioneering and path-breaking achievements in the Telecom industry achieved by Dr. Anand Agarwal and in the process transforming Sterlite Technologies—STL—from being an optical communication products company to becoming a data networks solutions provider. “Under his leadership, the company filed 271 patents during the year, the highest-ever in the company’s history in a single year.”

This is the 17th edition of the annual award instituted by Voice&Data in 2003 to recognize the leaders of the telecom industry in India, path-breaking initiatives, innovations, and technology breakthrough in the industry.

The decision was taken by a jury of eminent telecom professionals and experts headed by former Department of Telecom (DOT) Secretary Aruna Sundararajan who was conferred the Telecom Person of the Year award in 2018.

Bharti Enterprises Vice-Chairman and Bharti Infratel Executive Chairman Akhil Gupta served as the Jury Co-chair. The members of the jury included CyberMedia CMD Pradeep Gupta; COAI Director General Rajan Mathews; CISCO Service Providers Business and Managing Director Anand Bhaskar; and Foxconn International Holding India Country Head & MD Josh Foulger. The other jury members included Sterlite Technologies CEO for Network Service Business KS Rao; ICEA Chairman Pankaj Mohindroo; Former TSSC CEO Lt. Gen Dr. S P Kochhar; and Huawei CEO Jay Chen.

Past winners of the Person of the Year award include Ratan Tata in 2003, Mukesh Ambani in 2004, Dayanidhi Maran in 2005, Sunil Bharti Mittal in 2006, Anil Ambani in 2007; N Srinath in 2008; Manoj Kohli in 2009; Anil Sardana in 2010. Other recipients of the award include Sanjeev Aga in 2011; Sanjay Kapoor in 2012; Marten Pieters in 2013; Himanshu Kapaniain 2014; Dr Rahul Khullar in 2015; Gopal Vittal in 2016; and Mukesh Ambani in 2017.

The awards were presented at the 25th Anniversary Celebration of Voice&Data and the 19th Telecom Leadership forum in New Delhi.

By Shubhendu Parth (shubhendu.parth@gmail.com)

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