The GSM Association (GSMA) has issued a statement warning the Indian Telecom Commission of the ramifications of its decision to increase reserve prices for 3G spectrum and to limit the amount of spectrum available. Although likely to yield greater returns for the government in terms of licensing fees, the higher prices will hamper the operators’ ability to invest in the deployment and expansion of their networks, reducing the potential impact of the technology as a catalyst for economic growth.
GSMA’s Chief Regulatory Officer Tom Phillips explains: ‘It is well documented that mobile broadband has the potential to deliver substantial socioeconomic benefits. According to GSMA Intelligence, in 2014 alone, the overall economic impact of mobile technology in India amounted to approximately USD115 billion in value-added terms, representing an economic contribution of around 5.5% of the country’s GDP last year. Looking ahead, mobile broadband is set to grow exponentially throughout India, driving digital inclusion and economic growth for India’s consumers and businesses. By the end of 2014, 3G coverage reached 61% of India’s population and it is set to escalate substantially to 90% by 2020…However, the GSMA cautions that these forecasts will only become reality if mobile operators have the capacity to make the necessary network investment in India.’