Ambani calls for end of 2G, Mittal stresses on lower levies

NEW DELHI, JULY 31 (IANS): Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani on Friday said that the government should take policy measures to end 2nd generation mobile connectivity as it keeps people devoid of Internet connectivity.

Speaking at the occasion of 25 years of mobile telephony in India, Ambani noted that as the telecom players mark the achievements made so far, this is also an occasion to look at the obstacles that have prevented Indian consumers and Indian society from fully benefiting from the digital revolution.

"Here, I specifically refer to the fact that India still has 300 million mobile subscribers trapped in the 2G era. Their feature phones keep them excluded, even from the basic uses of Internet at a time where both India and the rest of the world are standing at the doorsteps of 5G telephony," he said.

"I think necessary policy steps should be taken with utmost urgency to make 2G a part of history." Ambani's Jio Platforms has already announced it will partner with Google to launch an entry-level Android smartphone soon. Reliance Jio launched a feature phone called JioPhone in 2017 that currently has an installed base of 20 per cent among the country's feature phone users.

Noting that the next 25 years will bring even more breathtaking changes in mobility, the RIL Chairman said that time has come for India to be ahead of the rest of the world in key areas of technology.

Speaking at the online event organised by COAI, Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal called on the government to lower the taxes and levies for the growth of the industry.

"It is time for the government that this industry which has had its ups and downs is now given due attention in the areas of levies and taxes. Taxes have generally been very high in this industry. It is important that this is reviewed thoroughly," he said.

Lauding the achievements of the past 25 years, Mittal said that the next 25 years would witness IOT connectivity, low latency and full 5G connectivity across the country.

Citing the Prime Minister's call for an 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat', he said that the time has come for India to take the lead in the area of local manufacturing in mobile and telecommunications.

Newly-appointed COAI Director General S.P. Kochhar also noted that the focus should be now on self-reliance and security in connectivity and infrastructure.

"The industry has changed a lot and the way India communicates has changed even more. The last 25 years have been busy in connecting India, the next 25 years would be about transforming India. It is time to focus on self-reliance and security in connectivity and infrastructure as well as ensuring greater security at all levels of threats," he said.