India Celebrating 500 Million

Thiru A Raja ji – Honorable Minister for Communication & IT, Shri Vincent Pala ji – Minister for Water Resources , Shri Venugopal Dhoot ji – Chairman CMAI , Shri PJ Thomas ji – Secretary Telecom , Dr. JS Sarma ji – Chairman TRAI , Shri NK Goyal – President CMAI , Distinguished Guests , Friends from Telecom & IT Industry , Friends from Media , Ladies and Gentlemen
It’s an honor for CMAI to organize this celebration on historic occasion of achievement of 500 million subscribers by Indian Telecom Industry. And its honor for me to congratulate Honorable Minister for this exceptional achievement . I would also like to congratulate all stake holders of Telecom Industry including Policy makers , Regulator , Service providers , Operators , Infrastructure providers ,Vendors and above all : the Indian Mobile consumer !!
Today , someone , who needs a big thank you is Indian mobile consumer , who not only adopted the technology so well but also extended a hand of understanding by sometimes overlooking the shortcomings of service.

As you may be aware .. that CMAI is the only ICT Association, which has all stake holders of ICT Industry.. as its members including Service providers , Operators , Infrastructure providers and Vendors. The objectives of CMAI is to create a platform, where all stake holders of Telecom/ IT Industry , Policy Makers and International Associations can work together

– For creating value for the Indian Telecom / IT Sector

– As well as

– To ensure Quality and Affordable Products & Services to the Indian consumers.

Therefore , at CMAI , it’s our endeavor to take a balanced view on all policy matters and always keep the interest of consumers as supreme.

Sir, you have been successful in leading India to achieve 500 million subscribers before the projected date and you have also been very successful in introducing competition , which has finally benefited the Indian consumer.

Sir , A lot has been done in Indian Telecom Industry and we all recognise that. But a lot needs to be done and we all should be conscious of that.

Today , Indian urban consumer is happy with availability and tariff of mobile services but the rural consumer is still struggling with both availability as well as tariffs. The average tele density in urban India is anywhere between 70 to more than 100% but in rural areas it is still below 20%.

Sir , actually the requirement of communication is more for those , who are lagging behind in society . And to achieve inclusive growth , we need to achieve at least 40% Teledensity in rural India .

Today , the consumer is happy with the marketing network but not happy with the customer service ; consumer is happy with the quality of mobile phones but certainly not happy with the quality of network and so on . These are some of the observations , all of us have .

Sir , keeping the interest of consumer as paramount , with your permission , I would like to table few suggestions so that we not only achieve World’s highest number of mobile consumers in India but we also achieve world’s highest percentage of satisfied Mobile consumers in India .

1. Honorable minister , The first suggestion of CMAI is regarding your dream and promise to deliver the mobile services to consumers at @10 paisa per minutes. CMAI feels that this promise cannot be achieved by only introducing competition but radical measures are required with regard to the policy of Call Termination Charges . CMAI would request Honorable Minister and TRAI to consider the suggestion of making call termination charges as Zero.

This will not only finally bring down the prices at @10 paisa per minutes but would also allow new operators to compete fairly at even platform in the market place and it will ultimately benefit consumers.

2. Sir , the second suggestion is regarding the spectrum policy . Considering the delays in availability of spectrum to the operators as well as delays in auction of 3G and Wimax spectrum , which has introduced obvious delay in collection of auction funds by Government , CMAI feels that perhaps time has come for Government to introduce a Long Term Spectrum Policy. This will not only bring consistency in approach of Government towards spectrum but will help operators in long term planning . Since the policy will facilitate efficient uses of spectrum , it will bring down prices further thus benefiting the consumers.

3. Our third suggestion is regarding Quality of service . Sir, the quality of service is a very sensitive issue and various surveys are available ; in fact some of them were done by the leading newspaper showing that call drops are universal phenomena across networks. How to bring improvement in the quality of telecom network to avoid call drops is the biggest issue today.

While TRAI does monitor the quality of service but perhaps it should introduce special steps to assess and monitor the quality of networks on proactive basis . May be , there is a need of penalty or incentive system for the network quality of the operators. CMAI looks forward to some proactive policy with regard to monitoring of Quality of service for consumers.

4. Our fourth suggestion : to strengthen local manufacturing for telecom Industry so as to meet at least 2/3 of future requirements of Indian Telecom Industry through local manufacturing .

Sir , Unlike most of the large telecom countries , the telecom manufacturing industry in India is comparatively very small in spite of India being the largest market in the world. This has led to only one sided growth , which is not beneficial to the country in the long run.

Since India is looking forward to 400 million new mobile consumers in next 4 years , no Vendor should hesitate to manufacture equipments in India , should there be policy to motivate and incentivise local manufacturing.

CMAI suggests that a new policy for local manufacturing be introduced , which will not only bring down the prices of equipments but would also provide employment to thousands of youths of India.

5. Sir , the last suggestion is to deal with a very important yet a neglected issue and here the Ministry of Law and Justice is to take appropriate action.

Today, India has nearly 500 million mobile consumers and expected to grow to a base of 800 million in next 4 years. Mobile Service is one service , which is being used 24×7 by maximum number of Indians. The only other service, which comes little close …is the electricity. While uses of electricity can be planned and also there are alternate methods to fulfill the need of electricity , there is practically no alternate to mobile services. Additionally , the collateral damages due to poor mobile services are very high.

Yet , it’s really difficult for a mobile consumer to address his complaint if the operator does not suitably address his issues. The most common complaints , which all of us face , are : Call drops , Unsatisfactory customer service and billing issues.

The only available forum today …for such consumers is TRAI but TRAI is not really equipped to handle individual complaints. This does not leave …any recourse to the troubled consumer.. and there is practically no place ..where he can approach for quick justice.

CMAI has requested Honorable Minister of Law & Justice Dr. Veerappa Moilly to consider setting up special and exclusive “Mobile Consumer Courts” . The Mobile consumer courts can be set up on the same line as that of existing consumer courts.

CMAI feels that this step will go a long way in protecting the rights of mobile consumers and at the same time will make operators much more conscious towards quality of network and customer service.
CMAI is pleased to inform the Honorable Minister that Dr. Veerappa Moily has assured that the suggestion of “ Mobile Consumer Courts” will be considered seriously by his Ministry.

CMAI requests a line of support from Telecom Ministry for this cause and feels that with the support of Telecom Ministry, “Mobile Consumer Courts” will become a reality very soon.

Sir , CMAI is committed to balanced approach on all issues concerning Telecom Industry as well as Telecom consumers and we shall continue to bring Industry as well as consumers’ issues to your notice for your attention.

Honorable Minister , We look forward to your leadership in achieving many more heights including the World’s largest number of satisfied mobile consumers in India.

Thank you.