India’s richest person Mukesh Ambani and founder and chairperson of Bharti Enterprises Sunil Mittal on Friday expressed their views on the telecom sector in India. They were speaking at an event organised by industry body Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) and IMC Studio on the occasion of the ”25th Anniversary of Mobile Telephony” in India.
Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani on Friday reiterated his stand on making India “2G mukt” and suggested the government to introduce a policy to make 2G technology mobile service a “part of history”. He said that 2G-era feature phones have kept around 30 crore subscribers away from basic internet services when both India and the world are venturing into the 5G domain.
“I specifically refer to the fact that India still has 300 million mobile subscribers trapped in the 2G era, their feature phones keep them excluded even from the basic usage of the internet at a time when both India and the rest of the world are standing at the doorsteps of 5G telephony. I think necessary policy steps should be taken with utmost urgency to make 2G a part of history,” Ambani said.
Mittal made a case for lower spectrum charges so that it acts as a “force multiplier” and boosts economic momentum. He suggested the government reduce taxes and levies on the telecom sector to fuel overall economic growth. “Taxes have generally been very high in this industry. It is important that this is reviewed thoroughly and telecom resources like spectrum, levies should not become a source for the exchequer but should become a force multiplier in ensuring economic momentum becomes faster and gets accelerated. So, the government can earn its dues from other industries who are going to be riding on the back of this wonderful industry,” Mittal said. “PM”s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat is giving us all a clarion call to ensure more and more value addition is done in India for telecom networks, mobile devices, and software,” he added.
While speaking at Reliance AGM on July 15, Ambani announced that Jio has entered into a commercial agreement with Google to jointly develop entry-level affordable 4G and possibly 5G smartphones in the future as the telecom company aims to make India free of 2G technology. While Reliance Jio has invested heavily in faster networks of 4G and 5G internet, 2G users still form a large chunk of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea’s user base.