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India wins GSMA Government Leadership Award 2023

Communications, Electronics & IT and Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw calls it recognition of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visionary initiatives.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Communications, Electronics & IT and Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Tuesday said the GSMA Government Leadership Award, 2023 announced in favour of India recognised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visionary initiatives in implementing best practices in telecom policy and regulation.

Speaking on the occasion of India receiving the award, Vaishnaw said, “GSMA Awards represent global recognition of the telecom reforms carried out by PM Shri Narendra Modiji.”

He said, “We all have seen the effect of reforms. Right of Way permissions which used to take more than 230 days, now get approval within eight days. More than 85 per cent mobile tower clearances are now instantaneous. With nearly one Lakh sites in 387 districts, India’s 5G roll-out is one of the fastest in the world. Indian telecom sector has emerged as a sunrise sector and the whole world has taken note of this rise.”

The Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) which represents more than 750 mobile operators and 400 companies in the telecom ecosystem, recognizes one country every year. India was declared winner in the ceremony held at Mobile World Congress Barcelona on 27 February, 2023.

Following the ‘Digital India’ vision of the Prime Minister, the Government brought in structural and procedural reform in September 2021. Thereafter, several initiatives were carried out such as licensing reforms, creation of PM GatiShakti Sanchar Portal, streamlining Right of Way (RoW), spectrum reforms, and satellite reforms.

The GSMA said driven by expanded 4G coverage, India is home to some of the world’s most affordable handsets and data plans. By 2025, India is projected to become the second-largest smartphone market in the world. However, historically, high regulatory and spectrum costs had impacted operators’ ability to invest and innovate. Drawing lessons from the past, the last year witnessed significant policy reforms by the Indian government in the mobile sector and broadband infrastructure development.

In a statement, GSMA said India’s biggest-ever spectrum auction for 5G was held in July 2022. In total, 72 GHz spectrum was sold across ten spectrum bands. The government lowered reserve prices by 39 per cent across the spectrum band. Seventy-one of all spectrum on auction was sold for $19 billion. All three mobile operators in India acquired spectrum in key 5G bands such as 700 MHz, 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz. To further support 5G rollouts, the government has also liberalised the spectrum cap limit for telecom operators, expanding their ability to hold more spectrum.

According to a recent Reserve Bank of India report “India’s digital economy grew 2.4 times faster than the Indian economy in 2022.” The G-20 presidency India assumed in December 2022 offers a valuable opportunity to lead governments globally in making digitalisation integral to nation-building efforts, GSMA said.