High-speed 5G services, which will be available across most of the country in two to three years, are expected to remain affordable, Telecoms Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Thursday.
The minister, while launching a 5G right of way application portal to facilitate rapid deployment of telecommunications infrastructure, said mobile services in India are among the most affordable in the world and he expects that the trend will also continue for 5G services.
“We expect investments of around Rs 2.5-3 lakh crore to come into the industry. Rs 3 lakh crore is a big investment. It also leads to good job creation. Our estimate is that 5G will reach almost all parts of the country in the next 2-3 years,” Vaishnaw said.
He said telecom companies are busy setting up infrastructure and 5G services should be launched by October and then expanded at a very rapid pace.
The government has also notified new right of way rules which clarify the fees to be charged for laying telecommunications cables, access to street furniture such as utility poles and boundary walls, etc.
Under the Indian Telegraph Rights of Way (Amendment) Rules 2022, telecom companies will not need any approval from the authorities to lay cables or install mobile towers or poles on private property.
“Previously, it took 343 days for right-of-way approvals, which has now fallen to 22 days. Last July, the average is even better, which is 16 days. This is the clear impact of the reforms undertaken by the prime minister,” Vaishnaw said.
Telecom companies using street furniture for the installation of small cells will have to pay Rs 300 per year in urban areas and Rs 150 per year in rural areas per street furniture, according to the notification.
For the installation of cables using street furniture, telecom companies will have to pay Rs 100 per year per street furniture, according to the notification.
The minister said industry has informed that India has one of the most affordable telecom services and the same trend will be there for 5G services.
“Spectrum reforms and reducing the cost of right-of-way, both steps ultimately reduced the cost to the industry. We have clearly asked the industry to keep 5G prices very reasonable. The information we received indicate that so far India has the most affordable services according to ITU rankings. The same trend will continue in 5G,” Vaishnaw said.
The Minister said that based on industry feedback, investments of Rs 50,000 to 60,000 crore have been made and most of the investments of Rs 3 lakh crore will be made in the next 18 to 24 months. .
“It is very important to note that the industry gives equal importance to rural and urban areas. This is in line with the vision of our government,” Vaishnaw said.
Regarding the measures taken by the government, the industry body COAI said that as the country is on the verge of witnessing 5G technology, the rules of the Indian Telegraph Right of Way (Amendment), 2022 will ensure the rapid deployment of technology and will make the dream of India enabled by 5G come true.
“Accessing existing infrastructure, deploying new infrastructure and the high cost involved were major challenges that the telecom industry has always faced, which will now be mitigated. We are also delighted to have the 5G RoW application form on the GatiShakti Sanchar portal, which is again a positive sign to speed up the process of installing digital infrastructure,” said COAI Director General SP Kochhar.
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