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  • MODERATOR:

    Hello and welcome to a webchat with Arpita P Agarwal, Partner and Leader (Telecom), to discuss what boosters the telecom sector can expect from Budget 2017.


    ARPITA P AGRAWAL:

    Hello, everyone


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    SHIVANSH JAURHI

    With Reliance Jio changing the dynamics of telecom sector and other operators following its lead, can we see a mega announcement in the Budget regarding spectrum auction or tariffs?

    ARPITA P AGRAWAL

    Spectrum auction and tariff is an area which is under the purview of licensor DoT and regulator TRAI ,therefore no specific announcement is expected in this budget.


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    PRATYUSH RAJ

    How do you assess the impact of Jio on the sector? Yesterday, Airtel announced its Q3 results... its net profit has declined 55%.

    ARPITA P AGRAWAL

    Impact of Jio has been disruptive and has forced all sector players to re-look at their business model and pricing strategies.


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    NIKITA SINGH

    Do you think the business model adopted by Jio -- all about free services -- is sustainable in the longer run?

    ARPITA P AGRAWAL

    Free services are not sustainable in the long run and Jio has already made announcements to this effect that they will commercially launch in the coming months.


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    AKANKSHA BHARADWAJ

    There have been talks about Vodafone and Idea's merger. Can such a move counter Jio's dominance

    ARPITA P AGRAWAL

    Industry consolidation is on the cards as we have predicted in our 'Telecom trends 2017' publication as well. Consolidated operators will have more leeway to face competitive pressures in the market.


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    ABHINAV ANSHU

    The tussle between Jio and the rest has brought the integrity of Trai into question and cast a shadow on the government itself. What do you think needs to be done?

    ARPITA P AGRAWAL

    Accusations and allegations of favoritism have been part and parcel of the Telecom industry in India since liberalization. However, industry players along with government and regulator have always overcome that and found a way to move forward. Expect the same now..


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    PRATYUSH RAJ

    If market consolidates to 4 companies as everyone has been saying, will consumer still be the king?

    ARPITA P AGRAWAL

    Consumer will be king when they not only get affordable pricing but also get the desired quality and services. It is expected that post consolidation each operator will try and achieve that goal.


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    PARAS MITTAL

    Right now, the only stable broadband provider seems to be Airtel. All others -- Reliance, BSNL and others -- are providing substandard services. What can the government do to ensure that those who do not have Airtel broadband do not suffer

    ARPITA P AGRAWAL

    The regulator TRAI is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring quality of services in the sector and they have been tracking and reporting the same within this mandate. However, agree that more needs to be done on quality which is expected to be addressed by Telcos in a competitive market.


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    MEGHRAJ JEJANI

    Why is it that every year there is an evolution in the internet technology. 2G wasn't even properly implemented when 3G came. 3G didn't even properly penetrate the country when 4G came. Now people are saying 5G is coming very soon. Is it just technology developing at a breakneck pace or are telcos acting smart and packaging old wine in new bottle with some minor tweaks? Shouldn't the government enact a leapfrogging policy to protect people from such staggered release of old technology in the garb of new.

    ARPITA P AGRAWAL

    Technology is moving at a breakneck speed and Telcos have been trying to keep pace. Each technology enhancement has entailed significant capital expenditure by the Telcos and is done with the intent to bring in the latest in class to the Indian customer. Agreed that not every technology upgrade has been adopted in full but the reason lies in a whole host of factors such as awareness, affordability, network reach, handset availability etc.


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    AMIT MALWA

    These days we need roti, kapda, makaan and internet to survive. Shouldn't access to high-speed internet be made a fundamental right under the Indian constitution?

    ARPITA P AGRAWAL

    I wish it could be!! Will resonate with the Digital India vision of PM Modi.


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    MANU RATHORE

    Kindly outline the steps the government should take to ensure security and privacy of individuals in the cyber world

    ARPITA P AGRAWAL

    Awareness at individual level about cyber security vulnerabilities and privacy threats need to significantly go up. Government should work with all stakeholders to increase the cyber literacy levels so that individuals do not fall prey to fraudsters. Additionally, operators need to adopt adequate security measures at their end.