The telecom ministry today said it hopes to place the proposed New Telecom Policy before the Cabinet for approval by April. The draft of the much-awaited policy will be ready in the next 2-3 weeks for incorporating stakeholder response and the Telecom Department expects to seek Cabinet nod on the proposed policy sometime in April, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said on the sidelines of a FICCI-EY event."The consultations on the new telecom policy (NTP) is nearly over and...in the next 2-3 weeks, we will be in a position to table the draft document and then people will be able to respond to that," Sundararajan said. She said on futuristic technologies like machine-to- machine (M2M) communication, India is looking to play a far bigger role than just being a user."We also want to be the technology supplier and manufacturer, be it low-cost sensors or software platform for M2M communication," she said. Terming M2M as being a fast-evolving area, the Telecom Secretary said that taking a licence heavy approach for it may not be appropriate as it may restrain the growth of the new age technology."Also, key will be to ensure that interoperability is maintained.
Similarly, on service quality and spectrum, we should not be prescriptive...rather we should let things evolve," she noted. She said that the 5G roadmap would require commitment of significant resources from the government as well as the industry."Unless we commit resources, both in terms of manpower and capital investments, India cannot emerge a leader," she said. Sundararajan -- who also chairs a committee on evolving common utility duct policy for government departments -- said the panel will submit its report by March end."We expect that those recommendations will help hugely in ensuring we have necessary clearances and actual mechanism of rolling out fibre infrastructure much faster and much more cost effectively," she said. The common utility duct policy entails areas like highways, railways, power, oil and gas and telecom. Meanwhile, some reprieve for telcos may just be around the corner as the Telecom Department has sent its recommendations on proposed relief measures for the stressed sector to the Cabinet."The cabinet note on IMG (inter-ministerial group's recommendations) has gone," she said referring to a slew of measures that have been proposed to provide financial relief to the sector. The measures that have been recommended by the inter- ministerial panel and cleared thereafter by the Telecom Commission include giving more time to telcos to pay for the spectrum they bought in auctions. Meanwhile, FICCI along with EY today released a report on 'M2M in India: Driving Growth in a Connected World', as an input document for the upcoming National Telecom Policy 2018.The report noted that the M2M growth in India would be boosted by both demand and supply side drivers."Product innovation, increasing operational efficiencies and improved customer experience are some of the end-user drivers in India....an evolving partner ecosystem, maturing M2M solution, increased network coverage and data speeds, and key government programs such as the Smart City initiative would support M2M growth in India," the report pointed out.The report further said that the M2M market in India is set to get a major boost from 'industrial M2M', an integration of physical machinery with networked sensors."Due to faster and efficient operational capabilities, industrial M2M accounts for approximately 60 per cent of the total M2M market in India, while the rest is attributed to consumer M2M, which includes smart home devices as well as wearables," the report said. The share of the consumer M2M segment is expected to grow to 45 per cent by 2020 with the booming e-commerce industry, the rise of tech-savvy consumers and increasing smartphone penetration, the report added. – Business Standard