4G to Become Mainstream
In this special January 2016 issue of the magazine, Voice&Data brings to you Trends for 2016 forecasted by the industry captains.
While 2015 was a remarkable year with subscriber base swelling over one billion, 2016 is set to consolidate the gains. Telecommunications industry metamorphosis from a voice factory to data factory continues… as 3G and 4G technologies become mainstream.
Quality of services is set to get better. Serious moves to fix the call drop problem are in the offing. The spectrum crunch and with that the network congestion issue is likely to be resolved to some extent as the year will witness the biggest-ever spectrum auction in the history of Indian telecom. The government plans to auction frequencies in the 2G, 3G and 4G bands in early 2016 that will not only help minimize the spectrum crunch in the country but will also fetch a huge amount to the country’s exchequer. Spectrum in the prized 700 MHz band for 4G may also be on offer for the first time. It looks like a rosy picture except for a few thorns – huge debts and capex for telcos.
The much-awaited spectrum trading and sharing guidelines have set the ball rolling for consolidation in the industry and so, from 10-12 operators now, the number would likely be pared to 5-6 operators by the end of 2016.
The positive impact of developments from 2015 such as harmonization of 1800 mhz spectrum, issuance of payment bank licences to some mobile operators, announcement of M2M policy, rapid rise in mobile apps or OTTs would be felt in 2016.
Not to forget, the advent of Reliance Jio, which is set to shake-up the market, compelling the operators to bring out the best for their customers.
The rollout of 4G networks and the availability of budget smartphones will give further fillip to the sector, which will remain an indicator of an unplugged growth in the telecom sector in the days to come.
Exponential rise in demand for smartphones as well as wearables would happen and we would see a boost to the manufacturing of devices and equipments out of India.
Disruptions such as the OTTs have already put a lot of pressure on the telcos, with studies estimating that they have already eaten up about 50 billion dollars of telcos’ revenues and this figure will double up to 120 billion dollars in the coming years. But a consensus seems to be on the cards after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India comes out with its final report in the first half of 2016. It should be noted here that the Department of Telecom (DoT) panel had suggested a ‘regulatory framework’ for Internet calls. If the suggestions are implemented, it may end free calls offered by apps like Skype and WhatsApp.
Last but not the least; collaboration would be the buzzword in the telecom ecosystem. A healthy collaboration between traditional telcos and content providers and also increased convergence between broadcasting and telecom is something inevitable. Public wi-fi and wired broadband will drive the ‘Digital India’.
In the ensuing pages read more on the trends for 2016 forecasted by the industry captains.