Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said cheap data tariffs in the country are due to the government’s focus on consumer centricity and ease of living. Speaking at the sixth edition of India Mobile Congress 2022, Modi emphasized on the lower cost of data as one of key pillars which the government has prioritised to boost India’s digital journey.
“The industry was given a slew of incentives and technologies like 4G received policy support. This brought down the price of data and a data revolution was ushered in the country,” Modi said.
The prime minister also launched the much-awaited fifth generation wireless services. Interestingly, telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone Idea Ltd are time and again pressing for the need for higher tariffs for mobile services in the country.
Factors such as increasing capital expenditure and operational spends to run the network is in a way restricting the profitability growth of the telecom operators.
In several earnings call with analysts, Bharti Airtel has said tariff hike for mobile services is the need of the hour. The company targets to achieve an average revenue per user or ARPU of Rs 200 from Rs 183 in the medium term and eventually to Rs 300 rupees in the long run.
Currently, India has one of the lowest mobile tariffs in the world.
The cost of data which was about Rs 300 rupees per GB several years back has now come down to 10 rupees per GB, thanks to Reliance Jio which had disrupted the telecom industry with free 4G data.
“It is a different matter that we did not make a fuss about (lower data tariffs), and did not launch big advertisements. We focused on how the convenience and Ease of Living of the people of the country increased,” Modi said.
Lately, the government has been very vocal about not interfering in the tariffs for the telecom sector. However, through various forums it has urged the telecom operators to keep the tariffs at affordable rates. Amongst other government focussed areas, Modi also mentioned about lower price of devices, digital connectivity, and government’s Digital First approach.
“Low cost of devices can only be achieved through Aatmnirbharta (promotion of local technology),” he said.
On the Industry 4.0, Modi said India may not have benefitted from the first three industrial revolutions, but he is confident that India will take full benefit of the 4th industrial revolution and, in fact, will lead it. The fourth industrial revolution is expected to bring in changes to the technology and improve manufacturing capabilities of the industry.