Make 3G and 4G services more affordable for rural India, says Government at LTE India 2016

The Government calls to make 3G and 4G services more affordable for its faster penetration into the rural areas, Shri N.K. Yadav, Member Services, Department of Telecommunications, Government of India said at LTE India 2016 conference in New Delhi.


“Although the rural 2G services have crossed the mark of 50%, the real tele-density is still around 25%, but the data services were just about 10%. To increase the data usage, there is a need to make the services more affordable,” he said. Shri Yadav is also Chief Managing Director of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL).

In response, Mr. Rajan Mathews, Director-General of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said that the high spectrum costs and right of way charges along with other levies make the investment in telecom sector expensive. Hence, he said, the possibility of selling 3G and 4G services for low cost may not be feasible. “Over and above high spectrum charges, Government is also imposing a service tax even as local charges for right of way are almost doubling every now and then”, said Mr. Rajan Mathews.

Meanwhile, Shri Yadav assured that the Government of India was providing as much spectrum as possible to the industry. “Spectrum provision is opening up and through sharing, trading and harmonizing spectrum more intensive usage will happen in a big way,” he said.

The panelists at the discussion pointed out that although the data services are spreading, and there was huge supply of 4G services, ‘the pull from the customers was not strong enough’. With programs like Digital India, Smart City and e-services, the much needed consumer pull is expected to improve, panelists added.

The panelists at the discussion included Shri DP De, Sr. DDG, Telecommunication Engineering Centre, Mr. Rajan S. Mathews DG, Cellular Operators Association of India, Mr. Rajat K. Mukarji, CCO, Idea Cellular, Mr. Arvind Bali, Director and CEO, Videocon Telecom, Mr. Avinash Mittal, Sr. VP and CIO, Telenor India.

According to Dr. Rishi Bhatnagar, President, Aeris India, 4G/LTE will play a promising role in long term and high volume data-enabled connectivity and application services, especially due to the onset of Internet of Things (IoT). IoT will make the telecom companies ‘the data storage providers’, which will in turn brings in new revenue streams for the companies.

John Reister, VP Marketing & Product Management said, “Indian consumers have a high interest in video services and exponential demand growth places strains on scarce mobile 3G and LTE network resources. This brings an unprecedented urgency for the Indian mobile network operators to overcome congestion and preserve the mobile performance that consumers expect. Better quality experiences lead to longer watch time, more loyalty and ultimately, market growth and profitability.”

The Panel discussion concluded that India is waiting for 5G and LTE Plus networks expecting greater efficiency in business and personal preferences.

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18 Comments on "Make 3G and 4G services more affordable for rural India, says Government at LTE India 2016"


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May 6, 2016 7:15 am 7:15 AM

Vasan khatam kam khatam….

Madhan Kumar
May 5, 2016 11:11 pm 11:11 PM

Until Greedy Avoid Looting Grp exists 3G/4G would never ever become affordable…

Mahmood Junaid
May 6, 2016 12:44 am 12:44 AM

But only AVOID is seriously expanding 3g/4g…

Mahmood Junaid
May 6, 2016 10:53 am 10:53 AM

That’s the problem:
India has one of the costliest spectrum in the world and also has the lowest ARPU in the world… Both are too tough to exist hand in hand… Still AVOID is seriously expanding that’s what i told… Blaming AVOID alone is not at all fair… Why cant the cheap operators that you love expand??

Love Airtel
May 6, 2016 5:43 pm 5:43 PM

Well said.

May 6, 2016 11:24 am 11:24 AM

Very well said Junaid and I agree with your thoughts that AVOID group is the only one expanding their 3G and 4G footprint whilst the others are just sitting idle and the spectrum costs money and anyone who expects cheap 3G and 4G should consider the money the operators paid up and this is a business not an a NGO 😉

Idea 3G works brilliantly for me more or less 10mbps the only thing is it’s expensive but the quality is good.

May 6, 2016 10:31 am 10:31 AM

Sahu kaha bhai ….

May 5, 2016 11:07 pm 11:07 PM

Yaa and Airtel Vodafone like operators will vasoolofy by charging even more to urban ppl.. Just because someone lives in an urban area does not mean he is rich and can afford any damn thing.. Ive seen 55 inch led tvs in rural areas while many city ppl r still using old small box tvs.. The people who dont pay much on cell bills may it be urban or rural dont even need 4G they r happy wid 3G and also 2G..