On its tenth anniversary,TAIPA held a virtual webinar with the theme “Robust telecom Infra- Way to Digital Era”
Speakers included Ajit Pai, Chairman Federal Communications Commissions (USA); Dr. RS Sharma, Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India; K Ramchand, Member (Technology), Department of Telecommunications; Prashant Singhal, TMT Emerging Markets Leader at EY, Akhil Gupta, Vice Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, and MS Rao, Chief Secretary, Government of Meghalaya; TR Dua, Director General, TAIPA delivered the welcome address.
“DoT is working on a number of recommendations made by the sector regulator and will soon come out with a policy to improve broadband proliferation in the country, a policy with which service providers will be encouraged to provide the infrastructure. A policy to enhance number of public wifi hotspots across the country is also in the offing, in line with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) suggestions.
A policy involving E and V bands is also under examination, so that backhaul bandwidth required for service providers can be easily provided using that. So is industry’s demand for expansion of scope of the infrastructure providers,” said K Ramchand, Member (Technology), Department of Telecom.
“With massive duplication in CapEx and OpEx, and low ARPUs, the need for sharing of infrastructure will intensify further. The industry must explore the possibility of creating netcos, so that CSPS can share the capacities created, and move the entire telecom model to an asset-like model. Over time, the model adopted for sharing passive infrastructure, needs to extend to the active elements which include core infrastructure such as spectrum (intra-band), antenna and base stations too.” Akhil Gupta, Chairman, TAIPA & Vice Chairman of Bharti Group and Executive Chairman of Bharti Infratel Limited.
“Innovation has been at the core of telecom infrastructure industry over the last decade. In the next decade, the industry is well positioned to drive the next infrastructure revolution. Now is the right time for tower cos to innovate on business models and tap on new opportunities that represent a revenue potential of Rs 215 billion-Rs 310 billion in 2023,” said Prashant Singhal, Emerging Markets TMT (Technology, Media and Entertainment and Telecommunications) Leader at EY.
“With work-from-home, online learning, and in-home entertainment fuelling demand for robust digital infrastructure, massive investments would be needed especially in areas like Fibre-to-the-Home, data centres, in-building solutions and proliferation of wifi hotspots.
Telecom infrastructure and services are key enablers and critical determinants of the country’s digital and economic growth. The creation of robust telecom infrastructure – a capital-intensive sector — will play a key role in seamless connectivity, which is essence of true digitisation.
Huge infrastructure is required to be created for achieving objectives of connect India mission, and this is only possible with required investments to be brought into sector in next couple of years. While significant coverage of 4G is now a reality, there is still room to strengthen the underlying infrastructure essentially supporting the backhaul to improve performance matrix.
Robust telecom infrastructure is also key for realising Digital India mission, and for reaping the benefits of futuristic technologies like 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), Machine to Machine communications, Artificial Intelligence, leading to transformation into the digital era.
5G will require huge investments in fiberization by infrastructure providers in coming years. There are still several challenges involved in the roll out of networks in unserved and underserved areas, including rural and remote locations. The challenges arise due to low reach of infrastructure in rural areas, low population density and lack of viable business case – all of which should be addressed with suitable policy prescription.” said TRAI Chairman R S Sharma.
At the event, TAIPA and EY released a report, From evolution to revolution: Advancing a decade of innovation in the Indian towerco industry. The report emphasized that ongoing transformation in the industry exhibits revenue potential for infrastructure providers to the tune of Rs 215 billion-Rs 310 billion in 2023. The report noted that tower companies are exploring new business avenues with diversification into fibre and smart cities, and added that the industry can drive the next infrastructure revolution with the companies managing both active and passive infrastructure elements.