Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asked telecom and technology companies to create new domains that can be followed by other countries in future. Citing the example of the UPI, which has become a global leader in digital payments system, Modi said India has the potential of bringing revolutionary changes in the sector.
“India has the power of a young demography and the power of a vibrant democracy. Today, when we are realising the goal of becoming a developed India, the transition of moving forward as thought leaders can bring revolutionary changes in the entire sector,” the PM said at the inaugural session of the India Mobile Congress 2023 (IMC 2023).
Modi lamented the missed opportunities when it came to the adoption of new technologies in the past. “This period of the 21st century is the time of India’s thought leadership...the future is here and now,” he said, referring to 6G, artificial intelligence, cyber security, semiconductors, the drone or space sector, deep sea and green tech.
“The future is going to be entirely different and it is a matter of happiness that our young generation is leading the tech revolution... India has moved from the 5G roll-out stage to the 5G reach-out stage,” he said, adding that within a one year of 5G roll-out, there are four-lakh 5G base stations now, which cover more than 97 per cent of the cities and 80 per cent of the population.
Touching upon the importance of cybersecurity and network safety that comes as a responsibility with so many technologies, Modi recalled the discussion on ‘Global Threats of Cyber Security’ at the G20 Summit.
“Self-reliance in the entire manufacturing value chain is extremely important for cyber security...it becomes easier to maintain security when everything in the value chain belongs to the national domain, be it hardware, software or connectivity,” Modi said, adding that there is a need to carry out discussions at the IMC about keeping the world’s democratic societies safe.
Talking about the successful deployment of 5G and digital infrastructure in the country, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, said that the world is looking at India’s model to adopt and appreciated government’s efforts towards that direction.
“Country after country as well as World Bank, United Nations, WTO, Africa Union, European Union, G20, BRICS, everyone is chanting that the digital infrastructure that India has built can accelerate the world economy, especially in those countries which have lack of infrastructure,” Mittal said.
On Airtel’s part, he said the company, with the help of Universal Services Obligation Fund, has been connecting rural and remote areas, and now satellite technology is available to connect all parts of the country.
“OneWeb constellation is ready to serve the globe and is ready to serve the country. Anybody, anywhere in the country, in remote parts or in difficult areas, wherever they are located can be connected from next month,” Mittal added.
Reliance Jio, which also deployed 5G around same time with Airtel last year, said that it contributed to 85 per cent of the overall 5G capacity in the country, and provided one of the fastest 5G Internet speeds in the world.
“India today ranks amongst the top three 5G-enabled nations, with over 125 million 5G users. The transformative power of 5G will provide new employment and entrepreneurial opportunities to millions of Indians,” Akash Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Jio said.
Deploying a 5G cell every 10 seconds, Jio has installed over 10-lakh 5G cells across all 22 circles in India till now, he added. Jio also demonstrated India’s first satellite-based giga fiber service to provide high-speed broadband services into previously inaccessible geographies in the country.
Meanwhile, Vodafone-Idea India (VIL), which is yet to deploy 5G services in the country, said that it will invest further to enhance its network capability.
“In the coming quarters, Vodafone Idea will initiate significant investments in order to roll out 5G networks and further expand 4G coverage across the country. Moreover, the company is determined to realise the government’s vision of establishing a robust supply chain in critical and emerging areas, including Open RAN (Radio Access Network),” Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman, Aditya Birla Group said.