The first edition of India Mobile Congress
started with a bang with Idea Cellular
Managing Director (MD) Himanshu Kapania using the platform to raise the ongoing issue of financial stress in the sector and lambasting sectoral regulator Telecom
Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) over the current reduction in interconnect charges.
Speaking during the chief executive officer's (CEO) conclave, Kapania said the government has to decide if it wants only forward-looking technologies or a coexistence of 2G
He said Trai
has forced the industry to a level where only 4G
The MD of India's third-largest mobile operator said currently there are around 900 million Indians who use 2G
or 3G as the network connection, which is a lifeline to people in rural
"The recent market developments have resulted in the telecom
sector passing through severe financial and mental stress," he said.
The cut in interconnect charges
will not only lead to decrease in revenue for telecom
operators but will also create an imbalance between two operators.
CEO Gopal Vittal said the industry requires support for ease of doing business. "The taxes are very high as also the spectrum costs. This needs to change," Vittal said.
He said the country is on the cusp of big opportunity and in 3-4 years, there will be a billion smartphones.
Also, the cost of smartphones is also coming down and now a 4G
device can be bought at around Rs 3,000 as against Rs 5,000 some years back.
Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said the target of the government is to provide access to every Indian with best product and services.
She said in the next 3-4 years, the government will provide education, healthcare and other services to the people in rural
areas with the help of a digital medium.