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Connected even during the pandemic? We have Indian telecommunications network to thank – Tele-Talk by S. P. Kochhar


Even as the world fights the Covid-19 pandemic, the urgent need for widescale digitization is quite apparent. Over the past year, the telecommunications industry has worked tirelessly to ensure the Indian economy and society remain operational. Social distancing has led to a surge in the demand to remain connected, and therefore connectivity remains as important as ever.

It is not only our economy that is dependent on a robust communication network. Our everyday life needs telecommunications. From online education to banking operations, from work-from-home to investing in stocks, the invisible backbone is telecom.

It seems like yesterday, but it’s already been a quarter of a century. In 1995 private players were allowed into the sector. Since then, Indian telecommunications players have continued to push the boundaries of innovation. From text-only calls to streaming high-definition movies on your mobile phone, telephony in India has come a long way.

Whether you search for a recipe or ‘like’ your friend’s photo online, you don’t think about the quiet feat of technology that transmits data to and from your device. It depends on spectrum, a key resource for telecom services. The availability of an adequate spectrum is crucial for the quality of service and customer experience. It is also crucial for the growth of mobile service and vastly benefits the overall economy.

The growth in demand for digital communication can be gauged from the recent spectrum auction. At the 2016 spectrum auction, with seven bidders, the spectrum sold was 41% of quantity and 12% of the value of the total spectrum put up for auction. In 2021, with just three participants, the total quantity of spectrum auctioned was 37% and the total value was 19%.

The next round of auctions will be for 5G technology, which is already reshaping the communication landscape in different countries. The new technology will play a similar role in India’s economic and social transformation. With the Government’s nod on 3rd May 2021 to telecom trials in India, the stage has been set for the long-awaited expansion of digital products and services across sectors.

The trials will reduce the gap between 5G spectrum auction and the rollout of the new telecommunications technology. This is a significant development since in the past the trials for a new technology happened after the auctions. However, in the case of 5G, the telecom operators will be ready to take the technology to market.

The stipulated time for the trials is six months, which includes two months for the procurement and installation of equipment. During this time telecommunication companies are required to conduct trials in urban, semi-urban as well as rural areas.

5G will also play a crucial role in helping India leapfrog into a new digital era. For every Indian sector and industry to benefit from new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Automation, and Autonomous devices, a superior communication network like 5G is required. With this advanced telecommunications technology and the benefits it provides, India will be able to match socio-economic progress like other countries which have advanced telecom networks.

All three players i.e., citizens, governments and Industry have to put their shoulders together in this journey. All disruptions, intentional or coincidental, have to be brushed aside relentlessly with all our might so that we reach our goal earliest.

Quite simply, if you can read this article, it is because of an efficiently working telecommunications network. Every moment of every day, hundreds of millions of Indians depend on these networks to live their everyday life.

On World Telecommunication Day, let us take a pledge to be proud of our telecommunications infrastructure and of the advancements it has made over the last 25 years.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it. shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly.


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