New Delhi: Reliance Jio on Friday said telecom tariffs in the country cannot be raised as there are a large number of people who still use feature phones and companies need to innovate around data to perform.
“There are still around 400 million Indians who use a feature phone and hence tariff can’t be raised to reach out to them,” Reliance Jio President Mathew Oommen said at the India Mobile Congress.
He said companies need to focus on innovation or they will be displaced.
“As a service provider, we need to know are we going to make GB (gigabyte) cost a little bit lower and make money or a little bit higher and make money — that is not the mechanism. We have to innovate or we will get displaced,” Oommen said.
He cited the example of US and Chinese internet giants who have grown rich on the basis of data.
“We live in gigabyte economy and not product economy. We as service providers are the enablers for any digital transformation. That digital transformation is enabled by ultra-broadband. We need to be invested in data science, artificial and machine learning — that is going to enable us to transform quickly,” Oommen said.
Talking about 5G deployment, he said the ecosystem will be ready by 2019-20 but affordable devices for mass adoption of the service will start coming to India in 2021.
“5G ecosystem will be available sometime in 2019-2020. We in India need to take 5G to every part of India. For that, 2021 is when we will have devices that will be affordable. 5G as a technology impact is not just in telecom but it is across, reshaping every single industry,” Oommen said.
He said that mobile devices on 5G technology are not available yet and are expected to come in 2019.
“In end-2020 (or) 2021 when technology evolves… it is difficult for me in 2018 to predict what will be the cost structure in 2021. Right now we have to leverage the assets we have today and grow in capacity and experience till such time,” Oommen said.
Jio has been allocated spectrum in 28 gigahertz to run 5G trials. The company showcased demonstration of a driverless car using 5G technology from Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson.
Ericsson Head of South East Asia, Oceania and India, Nunzio Mirtillo, said the cost of data on per gigabyte basis will be far cheaper in 5G technology compared to 4G.
“We have done a study in India. 5G will enable a USD 27 billion business opportunity in India by 2026 and a big part of this market will be captured by operators like Jio,” Mirtillo said.