The concluding fireside chat at the TLF India 2020 was on New Digital Highway.
Pradeep Gupta, CMD, Cybermedia, said that the financial health of the industry is not very good. However, shifts such as 5G are taking place.
Dr Anand Agarwal, Group CEO, STL, said that there are major demands from enterprises coming in. New technologies will meet and serve that demand. The industry is now in financial stress. There is a shift happening from being a voice industry to being a technology industry. The government has plans to strengthen the digital infrastructure. The consumer orientation is moving toward private and startup ecosystem. “One key change I want to see is, telecom should be a revenue generating vehicle for the government. We are spending a lot on physical infrastructure.”
Manoj Kohli, Country Head, Softbank India, said: “I spent 20 years in telecom, and five years outside it. All the 18 companies of Softbank are utilizing mobile. The next 10 years will be much bigger. Make in India is a neglected area. The smartphone industry is showing the way. In China, so many people are involved in manufacturing in China. Another area is software development or apps. The government should encourage the development of software. Arvind Krishna today became the CEO of IBM. We should leverage this opportunity in telecom. Three, we have to balance among the customers, industry and government.”
The industry needs to be financially capable for making investments. Telecom is a fundamental sector. Make in India, building an ecosystem for the world, and development of software — these are the areas that we need to focus on.
RS Sharma, Chairman, TRAI, noted: “From a policy perspective, it articulates the vision for the next 5-7 years. We also need to implement that policy. The Digital India vision is a very comprehensive vision. It talks of digital infrastructure. It also talks of software and services on that infrastructure. How can you empower citizens to use that?
“The telecom sector is at a transformation point. We had voice-centric communications mostly. The data requirement was much smaller. Today, we are seeing a data revolution. There is a huge transformation taking place. From the demand side, there is a great future. 5G has enabled M2M communications. The scope of communications is also going to grow.”
The market structure has to change. Lot of unbundling has to happen. There are layered situations — network, infrastructure, etc. TSPs provide end-to-end services. We need to develop a system of sharing towers, for example. People are also willing to pay for the new services.
The following awards were given away:
* Telecom Person of the Year: RS Sharma, Chairman, TRAI
* Pathbreaker of the Year: Dr. Anand Agarwal, Group CEO, STL
* Lifetime Achievement: Manoj Kohli, Country Head, Softbank India