While GST is expected to be one of the biggest achievements on the economic front of the Modi government, it has left the cellular services sector reeling under a Rs 4.5 lakh crore debt, completely bereft. The 18 percent GST rate, as opposed to the current 15 percent, will not only make telecom services costlier for customers, but also likely slowdown the planned rollout of infrastructure across the country. The Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association echoes this sentiment, as the mobile tower companies will bill the higher tax to the telecom operators, which along with the non-availability of input tax credit will increase the tax liability of the CSPs. On the other hand, the IT industry is upbeat, and while in the short term there may be some hiccups, sees a Rs. 6000-crore opportunity in the next couple of years.
May 2017 saw the incumbents announce their quarterly and annual financial results. All the three leading service providers, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, and Vodafone India, registered a fall in their quarterly revenues and a drop in profits from their voice and data businesses. In FY18, while realizations may continue to decline, it is expected that there will be data volume growth by two-three times, and voice volume growth by 20–25 percent. In this backdrop, new revenue streams in the government’s smart cities initiative, home automation, and enterprise solutions like healthcare services, cloud services, energy management, analytics, and Internet of Things are being explored.
CommunicAsia 2017, as expected did not disappoint. With 1123 exhibitors showcasing innovations featuring the latest in dedicated technology clusters, the Show lived up to its reputation. It is indeed an event that aligns to the region’s initiatives and while delivering a platform that fosters international collaboration, pushes in advancing Asia’s digital transformation.
As our readers go for their summer vacation, those traveling within India enjoy free roaming charges on their network for both voice and data services. And for international roaming, postpaid customers without a roaming data pack will be automatically adjusted to the equivalent daily data pack for the particular country. Thank you, Sunil Mittal!