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A bird’s eye view of India’s telecom sector in 2022

Arobust telecom infrastructure has helped the country sail through difficult times for the past two years. From creating a seamless infrastructure for organizations to work from home to digital classes across cities, the telecom industry ensured connectivity in times of social distancing and kept the wheels rolling for the country’s economy and the world at large.

The year 2022 is going to be a turning point for India’s telecom sector, especially after the slew of announcements made by Hon’ble Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting the budget. With these announcements in action, the year will also see many new trends gaining ground.

Increase in data consumption
Since 2020, data consumption has increased manifold, and is also bound to increase in the coming years. Reports suggest that tele-density in rural subscribers reached 59.39 percent in November 2021 as against 59.16 percent the previous year. The sheer population of the country creates a massive demand for data services, and indicates a continued increase in data consumption and subscriptions.

5G communication – A game changer
Data consumption has grown to become an intrinsic part of our daily lives. Therefore, the government’s announce­ment to conduct spectrum auctions in 2022 to roll out 5G services by private telecom operators is a welcome step. Estimates suggest that 5G will represent around 39 percent of mobile sub­scriptions in India at the end of 2027, estimated at about 500 million subscriptions while at least 22 million skilled workers will be required to carry out 5G­-centric services by 2025. This implies that the roll out of 5G services will not only streamline data manage­ment but also create employment opportunities in the country.

The theory of everything
Improved connectivity with increased data consumption will enable enterprises to implement data management strategies effectively with complex technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and augmented and virtual reality, among others. The way these technologies are used will undergo a massive transformation, and will extend beyond communication devices to processes, appliances, and even people. The concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) will gradually transform into the Internet of Everything (IoE).

Enabling new-age technologies
The evolving communication landscape facilitates streamlining data management via hybrid cloud and network slicing that can enormously benefit not just enterprises but also the country’s military forces with real-time data flow, thanks to higher speeds and low latency. The enhanced network capabilities will also promote the use of cloud computing and edge computing in domestic setups, thus increasing data consumption.

Improving network infrastructure
Advanced communication services involve a large amount of consumer data, creating a challenge for cybersecurity. Service providers will be required to make constant improvements in network infrastructure. A simple solution to this is adopting holistic cybersecurity measures, such as cybersecurity mesh.

The government, on its part, took a great step towards improving network infrastructure with the introduction of Gati Shakti platform, which will further fuel the growth of the telecom industry through seamless and resilient wireless and wireline broadband connectivity. This will in turn enable ease of doing business in the country, and significantly drive the country’s economic growth and social development.

Improving telecom infrastructure
Under the National Broadband Mission, the DoT is reportedly targeting a combination of 100 percent broadband connectivity in the villages, 55 percent fiberization of mobile towers, average broadband speeds of 25 Mbps and 30 lakh km of optic fiber rollouts by December 2022. This will boost the telecom infrastructure growth while generating direct and indirect jobs. Implementation of the Right of Way (RoW) Rules 2016 across the country in true spirit will facilitate meeting the National Broadband Mission targets.

Design-led manufacturing in 5G – Consolidating R&D in India
The government’s decision to allocate 5 percent of the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USO) to encourage design­led manufacturing under the PLI scheme is expected to intensify 5G mobile services in the country. The scheme will encourage the private sector to significantly focus on designing 5G technologies, thus bringing in a greater focus on the R&D ecosystem in the country and promoting India as a cost-effective manufacturing hub globally.

To sum up, the year 2022 looks promising for the telecom sector and will give the much-needed impetus to structural and procedural reforms through the new announcements made by the government. Several new trends will emerge, which will provide stability and sustainability not only in the telecom sector but in other crucial sectors as well, thus strengthening the economic growth of the country.

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