COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India) today celebrated the World Telecom and Information Society Day 2018 (WTD 2018) with a vision to build and foster a digitally-empowered nation. The theme of the event was ‘Enabling the positive use of Artificial Intelligence for All.’ COAI firmly believes that India will be one of the fastest adopters of Artificial Intelligence (AI) based services. During the event, COAI thanked the Ministry of Telecommunications for providing the continuous support to the telecom sector and its expansion to every nook and corner of the country. A media statement issued by COAI also read the telcos invested over Rs 10.4 lakh crores in building the telecom infrastructure.
It is also revealed that more than 3 lakh Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) were added in last one year taking the total count to approximately 17.64 lakh BTSs. “The proliferation of telecom infrastructure in the rural and remote areas have upped efficient connectivity and improved usability of telecom services. TSPs had already established an infrastructural blueprint for services ranging from 3G to 4G, now they are taking adequate measures to build the foundation for emerging technologies such as 5G, AI, IoT, M2M, etc,” read the media statement.
With constantly shifting demands of the telecom ecosystem, a greater focus is being laid by Department of Telecommunications on the implementation of the Right of Way Policy at the State level. COAI also welcomed the adoption of Right of Way (RoW) Rule 2016 by 6 States viz. Rajasthan, Haryana, Odisha, Maharashtra, Assam and Tripura.
For the unaware, Odisha Policy has also been adopted by the DoT as the ideal policy for implementation for all states across India being one of the most comprehensive tower policies. The rules mandate the development of an electronic application process within one year of the roll-out of ROW rules, single clearance window for the application, designation of nodal officers, and fast-tracking decision on RoW permission up to 60 days to enable swift deployment of new telecom infrastructure, thus significantly aiding to improve socio-economic growth.
COAI also thanked the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on notifying the policy for installation of telecom infrastructure in cantonment areas under the tri-services. The policy covers allotment of defence land on lease for static towers as well as permission to use land on a licence basis for placing cell towers on wheels, permitting the use of rooftop in government and private buildings, including private land in military stations to registered infrastructure providers. This policy will help improve coverage gap and reduce call drops in and around military stations and cantonment areas.
COAI also stated that Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has been successful in identifying long pending concerns of the telecom industry with the National Digital Communications Policy 2018 (NDCP 2018). The draft policy has proposed to rationalise multiple taxes and levies including license fees, spectrum usage charges and the universal service obligation fund, GST etc. Apart from paving the way for the development of telecom and digital services in the country, it would also create 40 lakh new jobs, thereby providing a fillip to the skill-set improvement. The proposed investment of $100 billion in the communication industry will not only make communication services accessible to everyone but also provide much-needed relief to the industry, stated COAI.
Another aspect where COAI appreciated the telecom regulator Trai is on the recommendations on Ease of doing business and in-flight connectivity. “If executed in conjunction with licensed service providers, it will provide a secure network and create a steady revenue stream for telcos and airlines alike,” added the statement from COAI.
Mr Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI, said, “AI is a crucial enabler for achieving the national goals in the areas of healthcare, education and capacity building. With a positive ecosystem, driven by better connectivity and a financially robust sectoral health, AI will unveil possibilities hitherto unparalleled.”
COAI concluded that the Indian Mobile Congress (IMC), which is scheduled to start on October 25 will showcase the importance of the Indian telecom industry to the world. Once the economic backbone, the sector has emerged as one of the biggest growth drivers for the nation, concluded the apex industry body.