After success in India, telecom major Reliance Jio sees global foray as an option which is continuously under evaluation at the company, a senior company official said.
While speaking to the media at India Mobile Congress, Reliance Jio President Mathew Oommen said that India is now a tier 1 plus country and there should be no apprehension in framing policies that are right for the nation.
“We think the opportunity for India to go global is big. Reliance will continue to review options to see how best to represent India globally and offer value to customers leveraging the technology capabilities that we have already operationalized in India,” Oommen said.
He said that to truly drive the Digital India vision, the government should start leveraging Rs 75,700 crore Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) not just for mobile tower deployment but to make devices and services affordable and accessible for individuals.
He said Jio Bharat Phone ecosystem is an enabler to 2G mukt Bharat and AI Yukt Bharat.
He said that the underutilised USO fund should be leveraged for not just telecom infrastructure but also giving help to individuals for devices and services for those who cannot afford the transition.
"Anyone who cannot afford connectivity or monthly rent should be given a device and service model by leveraging the fund,” Oommen said.
The government at present charges 8 per cent of telecom companies' revenue as licence fee. Out of this, 5 per cent of the collection is earmarked for USOF which is utilised for promoting telecom connectivity in rural and remote areas.
Oommen said that the 5 per cent collection for USOF should be removed and licence fees should be reduced to 3 per cent.
“Let the telecom industry use those funds for continued investment. Give these as an incentive to the telecom industry to expand and enhance not just connectivity but for adoption of services by the needy to move to 4G and 5G services. There is no rationale to keep the users in the 2G era,” Oommen said.
He said that devices are a very critical equation in the adoption of any service.
"We brought the most affordable 4G device and the 4G adoption increased. Now the 5G devices are coming in the Rs 10,000 range and we see more and more and more 5G adoption happening. But we need to get this even lower,” Oommen said.
He said that it is critical for the telecom industry to take along 240 million 2G users to grow them and connect them with modern networks.
When asked about views on sustainability of the industry with current mobile call and data price, Oommen said the industry should ensure including the whole of India under the Digital India programme at the time of deciding on tariff.
“Increasing the tariffs is the easiest thing that one can do but having the right tariff that takes all of India together is what I think as an industry we need to continue to embrace. That's how we will get 2G-mukt Bharat. Otherwise, you will leave over 200 million of India behind,” Oommen said.
Talking about satellite communication technology, Oommen said the technology has evolved to a level that it will complement other land-based telecom networks.
He said that the spectrum allocation methodology for mobile networks and satellites should be the same.
“We absolutely believe, since satellite offers the same services, to the same devices, to the same customers with similar standards, why should it be considered any different. There seems to be no logic at all. Anything other than auction of the spectrum will distort the market significantly,” Oommen said.
He said that Jio has demonstrated gigabit speed using satellite communications technology which is no different from the speed that can be transmitted on land based networks.