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New Delhi : Minister of Communications Manoj Sinha on August 2, 2017, said that the Indian telecom industry has seen a paradigm shift from a voice centric market to a data-centric market. While voice business still contributes a large chunk towards operator revenues, data revenues have shown an exponential growth trajectory over the last few years.

Speaking at a Workshop on Telecom India here, the Minister said that by the end of 2016 the number of internet subscribers in India was 391.50 million making India globally the second  highest in terms of internet users, according to a PIB release. He said that Indian Telecom Market is expected to cross the INR 6.6 trillion revenue mark by the year 2020.

Sinha said that mobile data traffic also grew by 76 % cent in India in 2016 primarily attributed to increased smart phone penetration. This growing usage of smart phones especially in urban areas, has increased the usage of internet on hand-held devices – in 2016,  559 megabytes of mobile data was generated per month by an average smart phone up from 430 megabytes per month in 2015. Consumption of video content is also forecasted to be 75 % of India’s mobile data traffic by 2021 compared to 49 % in 2016.

The Minister said that Indian Government had launched the ‘Digital India’ initiative in July 2015 which had three broad targets – providing Digital Infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen, Governance and Services on Demand as well as Digital empowerment of citizens.

Sinha said that one of the projects under the ‘Digital India’ initiative was ‘BharatNet’ launched to deploy high-speed optical fiber cables to connect 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayat across the country by 2018, according to the PIB release. This project would also help in increasing the fiberized sites in India which currently stands at less than 20% compared to other developed countries. The project is being implemented in phases, with more than 1,00,000 gram panchayats connected under Phase-I as of July 2017 and states like Kerala, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh were nearing 100 % cent completion, Sinha said.

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