The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) called for suggestions to push local research and development in telecom and broadcasting sectors and promote the use of indigenous technologies and cut dependence on the import of equipment. A high-level discussion with the academia, industry, and R&D institutes such as CDoT, TSDSI, IIT Kanpur, IIT Madras, and IIT Delhi on Wednesday had highlighted the role of both these sectors in making India a $5 trillion economy.
It was suggested that there is a need for a structured approach to focus on R&D, incentivizing efforts, and adoption of indigenous technology by assured purchase orders for equipment to R&D institutes.
Amid rising tensions between India and China and global backlash against Chinese telecom equipment vendors Huawei and ZTE, India’s leading telecom operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have started replacing their network equipment with those of rivals such as Ericsson and Nokia in major circles. Reliance Jio has only deployed equipment from Samsung in its network.
Besides, Airtel and Jio have also proven abilities in developing full-stack indigenous 5G technology. Airtel recently announced its partnership with Qualcomm to leverage Qualcomm’s 5G RAN platforms – which runs on the cloud – to roll out virtualized and Open-RAN 5G networks in India. Reliance Jio has also achieved over a 1 Gbps milestone on the Reliance Jio 5GNR solution, leveraging the Qualcomm 5G RAN Platforms.
The Central government has also launched a production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme worth ₹12,195 crores for telecom equipment that’s expected to lead to an investment of more than ₹3,000 crore and local production The PLI provides incentives between 4-7% on incremental sales of goods over the base year 2019-20. For MSMEs 1% higher incentive is proposed for the first three years.
The scheme which will be operational from April 1, is expected to give a major push to Indian manufacturers of telecom equipment such as optical fiber, 4G/5G RAN, switches, routers, base stations, etc.
Telecom Regulatory Authority Of India (TRAI) has decided to constitute a high-level committee of senior officials from academia, industry, research institutions, and a few focus groups to promote the R&D cause and has invited suggestions from stakeholders by March 15.
Trai highlighted that there must be a shared database in telecom and broadcasting between research institutions and increased participation in global forums of emerging technologies Worth ₹2.4 lakh crore, of which exports are pegged at ₹2 lakh crore.