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Indian govt, industry players pledge support for mobile broadband

Industry bodies GSMA and Cellular Operators of India promise to back government's plan to boost mobile broadband in country.
Written by Jason Ng, Contributor on

The Indian government, along with industry bodies GSMA and Cellular Operators of India (COAI), have pledged to drive the growth of mobile broadband services across the country, delivered via next-generation LTE technology.

In a statement Monday, GSMA said mobile communications will grow in India on a healthy partnership between the government, regulator and industry. It added that this public commitment to drive the market underscores the commitment from all parties to address the need for nationwide broadband connectivity.

India's Ministry for Communications and Information Technology, GSMA, COAI and Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), jointly announced their support at the "Mobile Broadband--India Empowering the Mobile Ecosystem" seminar Monday in New Delhi. The conference looks at how mobile broadband, delivered on LTE (Long Term Evolution), can help connect Indians across urban and rural areas to the Internet.

Delegates at the seminar also highlighted the potential for India to lead the world in the development of low-cost Internet-capable HSPA, LTE and TD-LTE smart devices, as well as related applications and services that can be used globally if India seizes the initiative for improved spectrum access for mobile broadband.

GSMA CEO Rob Conway said in the statement: "Mobile broadband has transformed the reach of the Internet, with more than 450 million connections across the globe. Through sufficient spectrum allocation, India can become a leader in the provision of mobile broadband and take advantage of the huge economic benefits."

With better mobile broadband access, healthcare, education and employment prospects of people living in the rural areas would also improve.

Shri Kapil Sibal, India's minister of communications and information technology, stated: "India has always been a global leader in information technology, providing the world with much-needed leadership and direction in IT and research and development. However, it is time to bring the Internet revolution to our rural communities and I believe mobile broadband will play a significant role in achieving this."

J.S. Sarma, chairman of TRAI, added that the regulatory body remains committed to driving the country's national broadband plan, where mobile broadband plays an essential role helping India meet the targeted 160 million broadband connections by 2014.

The announcement could come as a blow to the WiMax community which had pinned its hopes that India's BWA operators would choose to go with the wireless technology.

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