In a recent study by GSMA, India features quite high up on the mobile broadband listing. In fact the same study actually pitches the country in the second place in its prediction for the world’s largest mobile broadband markets, and adds that it will be within the next four years that India will boast of having 367 million mobile connections. India will soon push ahead of USA and Japan and will be second only to China, which would have reached about 639 million connections by 2016, which is when India would reach its expected 367 million mark. As per their research, there has been a steady growth in the number of broadband connections, since 3G licenses were dished out back in September 2010. India has more than 10 million HSPA connections, which is expected to increase by a staggering 900 percent to more than 100 million connections by the year 2014.
Time for sunsidized plans
“The mobile industry in India is set for immense growth as Mobile Broadband technologies such as HSPA and LTE start to proliferate, but there is scope for far greater development,” said Anne Bouverot, Director General of the GSMA. “To take full advantage of this, the Indian government should facilitate the timely release of additional spectrum in a fair and transparent way for all stakeholders. The benefits are clear to see – a 10 per cent increase in Mobile Broadband penetration could contribute as much as US$80 billion (INR 3,506 billion) of revenue across the country’s transport, healthcare and education sectors by 2015,” she added.
Additional spectrum is required for India to maintain a steady momentum and adequate, but affordable broadband connection is needed to ensure long term economic and social growth. As per a recent study by the GSMA’s Wireless Intelligence service, even though India has an expansive rural population, the mobile growth in India is mainly due to the more affluent set of communities in the urban areas.
“Net additions in urban areas reached 85 million last year compared to 57 million in rural areas, with mobile penetration increasing by 20 percentage points in urban areas to 161 per cent, against a 6.5 percentage point rise in rural areas to 36.6 per cent.”
Providing cheap and affordable mobile broadband connection in the rural areas of India would help bridge the so called ‘Digital- Divide’. This in turn would help the economic and social problems in India by providing faster communication and correspondence, regarding simple matters.
“It is important that all citizens in India have access to high-speed Internet connectivity and the transformative opportunities it provides, the current average cost of an LTE device is prohibitive for the uptake of Mobile Broadband for those on low incomes. The GSMA is committed to working with its mobile operator members to investigate innovative ways in which to make access to the mobile Internet more affordable for all,” said Bouverot.
Anne Bouverot also had some announcements regarding the opening of a permanent office in New Delhi and two new members, Sandeep Karanwal, Head of GSMA’s India office, and Nitin Sapra, the GSMA’s Manager for spectrum and regulation policy in India. She said that, “It is an exciting time to launch our new office, as India is an increasingly critical market for the mobile industry, both commercially and in policy terms, through its influence throughout Asia Pacific and the world.” GSMA i.e. the GSM Association was formed back in 1995, in order to monitor the interest of all GSM service providers across the globe. Its main function is to standardize, deploy and promote the GSM mobile system.