Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha today said India will align with the world to enhance telecom footprint in the country and revenue generation will not be a priority for the government. “India will proceed with the world in the transformation. We want to make telecom enabler of common man’s life and not the source of revenue. We will discuss it in detail under new telecom policy,” Sinha told reporters here. He was replying to a question on global telecom operators raising concern over high spectrum prices in many parts of the world including India. “I have said we want to increase telecom footprint to the optimum, end digital divide; mobile connectivity should increase. This will be our focus. Revenue generation will not be the focus,” Sinha said. Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said India will align with global practices on spectrum. In India, 7,446 mhz of spectrum available for telecom services, of which over 80 per cent is in two new bands, has been identified for mobile telephony.
Sinha yesterday met GSMA Chairman and founder of Bharti Airtel Sunil Bharti Mittal. He is scheduled to meet Vodafone Global CEO Vittorio Colao today and US telecom regulator FCC chief Ajit Pai. Sinha also met CEOs and chairman of telecom gear maker Ericsson and Huawei. “With both these companies we discussed possibility of how they can deepen Make in India. Ericsson has made a commitment to give a road map for exports from India,” Sundararajan said. The minister held bilateral discussion with his counterpart in UK and is scheduled to meet delegation from South Korea, European Union and Israel today.
The telecom minister is leading a delegation to Mobile World Congress being held here. “I am pleased to note that the key theme of MWC is digital inclusion,” he said. Highlighting the telecom footprint expansion in the country between 2014-17, Sinha said India has added 266 million mobile and 140 million internet connections during the period. “In the same period we have added 6.6 lakh base station. Bharat Net was discussed here in which we have connected 1 lakh village panchayats with optical fibre ,” he said. Sinha said the remaining 1.5 lakh panchayats will be connected by March 2019. “Our average rate of laying optical fibre cables over the last 18 months has been more than 240 kilometers per day,” he said.