India will lead the digital infrastructure supply chain for 5G technology and its rise as a digital and software hub will play a ‘decisive role’ in the 5G technology roll out globally, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) secretary SK Gupta said on Thursday.
According to Gupta, the new FDI policy is also likely to attract foreign investments in manufacturing programmes helping along with the growth in the telecom sector.
Gupta was addressing a webinar organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI). While advocating for indigenous production of telecom equipment, Gupta said the initiative if implemented in letter and spirit “will be the way forward” for the sector.
At present, the telecom sector is dependent on the import of telecom equipment. According to Gupta liberal Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) regime and the PLI scheme (Production Linked Incentive) for telecom equipment are set to spur the manufacturing ecosystem in India, attracting large investment to the market.
The existing wide base of telecom and internet subscribers, affordable broadband services, combined with the power of advanced technologies like cloud, Artificial Intelligence, and platforms are paving the way for a digitally-strong ‘new India’, Gupta asserted.
“While there has been an exponential growth of telecom networks, we are hugely dependent on the import of telecom equipment. Telecom imports have been in the range of 1 lakh crore plus every year which is a point of concern,” Gupta said.
According to Gupta, the Centre’s call for Atmanirbhar Bharat is also “well-timed” as “existing global supply chains are getting disrupted and new opportunities are emerging in the field of telecom development.”
“Given the skill base in India, the scale of domestic market and technology orientation, India presents an attractive option for global manufacturers,” Gupta said.
While speaking about the robust digital landscape, Gupta said India has 1.2 billion telephone subscribers, 1 billion digital ID holders of Aadhaar, 800 million internet subscribers. The data consumption too has risen to over 11 GB per subscriber per month.