The need for fiberisation of the telecom towers in India for a successful 5G rollout is quite high. Highlighting that, P Balaji, Chief Regulatory and Corporate Affairs Officer, Vodafone Idea, said a robust digital infrastructure deployment is needed, and efforts should be made to fiberise 85% of all telecom towers in India in the next 24 months from the current 35%. Balaji said that while the goal might seem daunting, it is quite possible if India has a holistic approach on rights of way (RoW) approvals and collaboration between the private sector, central ministry, state and local administration.
Balaji Asks to Ensure a Level Playing Field Between Terrestrial and Satcom Players
Speaking at the India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2021, Balaji requested for the government to reduce litigation in the sector. Adding to this, Balaji said that taxes and levies should be reduced from the sector as it should not be looked at as a revenue maximisation source of the government. Further, Balaji said that an adequate spectrum for 5G auctions along with affordable pricing and easy payment terms must be ensured.
Most importantly, Balaji said that a level playing field with satellite communications (Satcom) and telecom players must be ensured. Telcos have invested huge amounts of money for creating PAN-India coverage, and they are continuing to expand and reach remote parts of the country as well.
Balaji said, “for all the hype surrounding satellite systems, it is but a small jump technology model to reach floating population or for specific inhospitable terrains. The need, therefore, is to treat it as such and focus on operator-led broadband and rural coverage for all Indians”.
Balaji’s words come at a time when the satcom players have been asking for getting access to a crucial spectrum via an administrative allocation instead of participating with the telcos at the spectrum auctions. The telecom operators want a uniform treatment and thus want the satcom players to participate in the spectrum auctions as well.