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Minister rules out duopoly, will always be 4 telcos

Minister of state for IT and electronics, Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Wednesday ruled out any chances of a duopoly emerging in the telecom sector, stating that there will always be four players in the market, including the state-owned BSNL.

He said that the telecom sector will contribute significantly to the country’s GDP on the back of innovations and many different evolved business models.

“Given the size of this market and increasingly the diversity of services that are going to be offered to those who use the Internet, and the growing intensity and complexity of the domestic Internet with IoT on the back of 5G, I see no reason why there will be anything less than four viable operators,” Chandrasekhar told reporters.

The government expects 1.2 billion people to be on the Internet by 2026, up from 800 million at present. India is witnessing the second fastest roll out of 5G network in the world. “Over 700 districts in India have already had 5G coverage. Over 500,000 base stations have been rolled out in this cutting edge technology and we are already having a vision and a roadmap for 6G,” he said.

Talking about the significant changes in the past nine years of the Narendra Modi government, Chandrasekhar pointed out four key areas that transformed the sector. The key areas are: eroding corruption and crony capitalism, boosting investor confidence, reducing reliance on imports, and enhancing the quality of telecom services.

“The 10 years under UPA in telecom was certainly a lost decade, it was all about scams whether it was the 2G scam or the trunk exchange scam. Even BSNL had become a loss making liability on the public exchequer by 2014,” Chandrasekhar said.

The minister also highlighted the shift in investor sentiment. In the past, there was hesitancy among foreign investors due to crony capitalism and corruption. Now, with the ease of doing business and reforms in the government, there is a growing positive sentiment among investors both from India and abroad, he said.

“In India techade, due to ease of doing business and reforms undertaken by the government, there is a stable, growing and positive investor sentiment. We are rapidly investing into the sector, growing the overall market capitalisation and size of this segment in the digital economy,” the minister added. Financial Express

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