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Telecom Sector In India: Approval Of National Digital Communications Policy 2018

India has been witnessing tremendous growth in telecom sector on account of its vast subscriber list. Keeping in mind the importance of digitalization, the Union Cabinet, on September 26, 2018, approved the National Digital Communications Policy-2018 (NDCP- 2018).

The key objectives of NDCP-2018 are:

1) Broadband for all;

2) Creating four million additional jobs in the Digital Communications sector;

3) Enhancing the contribution of the Digital Communications sector to 8% of India’s GDP from ~ 6% in 2017;

4) Propelling India to the Top 50 Nations in the ICT Development Index of ITU25 (India is ranked at 134 in the year 2017);

5) Enhancing India’s contribution to Global Value Chains; and

6) Ensuring Digital Sovereignty.

NDPC-2018 aims to attract USD 100 billion in the telecommunication sector. In the last three years, the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the telecom sector has jumped nearly five times from USD 1.3 billion in 2015-16 to USD 6.2 billion in 2017-18. Recently, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) cleared 100% FDI in Idea Cellular, paving the way for its merger with Vodafone India.

In a press release issued on September 25, 2018, the Government of India has significantly stated that it is keen on facilitating roll out of 5G services by 2020 in India at par with the world which will play key role in harnessing new emerging technologies like machineto- machine communications, internet of things, artificial intelligence, etc.

India has announced plans to launch 5G service by 2020 which provides big investment opportunity in the country.

NDPC-2018 aims to:

  • Provide universal broadband connectivity at 50 Mbps to every citizen;
  • Provide 1 Gbps connectivity to all Gram Panchayats by 2020 and 10 Gbps by 2022;
  • Ensure connectivity to all uncovered areas;
  • Attract investments of USD 100 billion in the Digital Communications Sector;
  • Train one million manpower for building New Age Skills;
  • Expand Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem to 5 billion connected devices;
  • Establish a comprehensive data protection regime for digital communications that safeguards the privacy, autonomy and choice of individuals;
  • Facilitate India’s effective participation in the global digital economy;
  • Enforce accountability through appropriate institutional mechanisms to assure citizens of safe and secure digital communications infrastructure and services.

NDCP-2018 looks promising and a game changer for telecom sector in India. The target to train one million people in new-age skills and sectors such as 5G LTE and artificial intelligence is commendable. The intent to increase digitalization in rural areas in India will further boost the telecom sector. NDCP-2018 will create colossal infrastructure as the same is vital for the existing bleeding telecom sector in India. The government is dedicated to achieve its Digital India plan and we hope that the implementation of NDCP- 2018 will bring more smiles to the foreign investors as well as domestic players in the telecom sector. – Mondaq

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