2023 was a decent year for the telecom sector in India. While 2022 will always be remembered for the launch of 5G, 2023 will be remembered for the passing of the Telecom Bill 2023. There was tremendous growth for the telcos and the customer experience improved significantly as 5G reached more locations. On the last day of 2023, let's go over the entire year and see what were the top highlights for the sector. You are welcome to pitch in what you feel was a highlight in the comments section of this post.
Rapid 5G Deployment
India's 5G deployment has been hailed as the fastest globally. China might disagree, regardless, by the end of Nov 2023, close to 4 lakh 5G BTS (base transceiver stations) were deployed throughout the country. Ookla said that India's median mobile download speeds for Nov 2023 reached 94.62 Mbps (the magic of 5G). A year back, in Nov 2022, this figure was 18.26 Mbps. In the global index of Ookla, India now stands at the 18th rank to offer the fastest median download speeds compared to the 105th rank a year back.
Jio has so far reached close to 8000 cities/towns with 5G, and Airtel should also be in the same ballpark. Jio had said that by 2023 end, they will cover the entire country with 5G, has that happened yet? We don't know.
Launch of 5G FWA
India saw the launch of 5G FWA (fixed-wireless access) service for consumers by Airtel and Jio. Jio AirFiber has reached 514 cities/towns while Airtel is still available only in two cities. But Airtel plans to expand rapidly into more cities in 2024. Jio AirFiber will also reach more cities where the 5G of the telco has already launched.
Telecom Bill 2023
The Telecom Bill 2023 has received mixed reactions from the public, but the industry loves it. The new telecom bill addressed a lot of concerns such as how the spectrum will be allocated to the satcom (satellite communications) companies, whether OTT (over-the-top) players will be included under the telecom regulation or not, and more.
The Telecom Bill also addresses the excessive litigation the sector is under. Overall, the bill has been appreciated by the industry players and leaders and will pave the path for the Indian telecom sector's future.
6G and India
India announced the formation of the Bharat 6G Alliance in 2023. It is an organisation that will do extensive research on 6G, and develop and test new technologies to keep India ahead in the 6G curve. Moreover, Bharat 6G Alliance signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with USA's Next G Alliance to work together on developing 6G technology.
Satellite Sector in India
The satellite sector in India is yet to start for consumers. But there were some big developments this year. Eutelsat OneWeb has received all the necessary approvals from the government to start offering satellite services. Now the wait is for the spectrum which the telecom bill says can be allocated administratively to the satcom players.
Jio showcased Jio SpaceFiber at the IMC (India Mobile Congress) 2023, and it will compete with Bharti Group's Eutelsat OneWeb in the B2B space.
What more qualifies as a highlight for you this year? Let us know in the comments below.