While the income tax declaration was understandably the highlight factor of interim budget 2019-2020, acting Finance Minister Piyush Goyal had a bunch of interesting observations about the Indian mobile phone and telecom industries. Standing in for Arun Jaitley and stating a landmark budget that effectively contributes well to the Indian youth and middle class, Goyal stated, “The cost of data and voice calls in India is now possibly the lowest in the world.“
Furthermore, he noted that the industry of mobile phone manufacturing is slowly beginning to show its strength in India, with mobile phone companies, assembly plants and component manufacturing companies are gradually contributing strongly to jobs and earnings in both urban and rural areas. He noted, “Mobile and its parts manufacturing companies have grown from two to 268 now.” However, while his calculation period is probably the last fiscal year, the figure may vary a little if India’s myriad, often-unregistered shops and vendors are taken into account.
Goyal also noted the impact of connectivity in India today, stating that buoyed by the easy affordability of services, mobile data usage has increased by nearly 50 percent within a very short span of time, although he did not specify more details of the statistics that he shared. India’s telecom operator industry has undergone a complete shakedown thanks to Reliance Jio, which took tariffs and allowances by the ruff and turned them upside down. This has led to mobile data becoming massively affordable, with 1GB/day LTE plans priced at below Rs 150, while including unlimited voice calls benefits.
As of the last reports, Reliance Jio now has over 280 million subscribers and has been adding millions of users to its network every month, while the once-infallible telecom giants Bharti Airtel and Vodafone-Idea (previously separate entities) are either stagnant or losing subscribers rapidly. As of November 2018, TRAI’s report stated that while Vodafone-Idea held 35.94 percent of the market, Bharti Airtel held 29.17 percent of it and Reliance Jio is now up to 23.17 percent. Considering the periods of existence of these operators, Jio is forecast to surpass its competitors, sometime soon.
With these declarations, the Finance Minister has also shown intent towards acknowledging the impact of data boom in India, and how far India has progressed in a relatively short span of time.—91Mobiles