Currently, India is ranked as second-largest telecommunications market across the globe with total number of 1.2 billion subscribers out of which 560.01 million are internet subscribers. The thriving sector is projected to reach more than US$ 26 billion through 2020.Under National Digital Communications Policy 2018 is expected to attract US$ 100 billion investments in telecommunications sector through 2022. In addition, the total internet subscriber base will increase by 500 million owing to reduction in data charges, creating significant opportunities for business. The new telecom policy is expected to bring fast technological advancement in telecommunication sector for improved infrastructure and services.
The communication market for India has grown leaps & bounds in past two decades in terms of spectrum allocation and mobile/ data penetration, still uniform distribution of resources across the geography a major concern, which needs to be addressed by both the government and private sector players. While job of the government and big market players is to provide necessary platform and infrastructure for effective communication and networking solutions, but it is the MSME sector that plays key role in ensuring the last mile connectivity.
‘70% of India still lags adequate connectivity and it leaves considerable space for MSMEs to grab, says Gyan Prakash Yadav – MD & CEO of New Delhi-based JRS Communication Pvt. Ltd. Founded in 2008, JRS Communication is a leading importer, distributor and service provider for RF products and installation thereof across India.’
Q.1 The canvas for communication is too wide, how do you see MSME segment playing a key role in delivering last mile connectivity?
If we talk about last mile connectivity, MSMEs are playing the prominent role in connecting people through the network. JRS Communications help service providers to become aware about latest developments in product & technology in communication space. We facilitate communication service providers to get hands on experience of the technology for confident deployments through making available all products required. Besides, our service providers’ network also engage with end customers to provide them legit technology supported platforms to connect with the society through the network.
Q.2 Do MSME services in communication sector are limited to urban areas only? Or their penetration in rural space is increasing now?
MSMEs are now moving towards untapped spaces in semi-urban & rural areas now. By & large, tier 1 cities are very well connected but still there are so much loopholes at service part which ISPs are taking care quite well than previous years because of cut throat competition among them. But, 70 percent of India is still unconnected which is a big space left for MSMEs to grab.
Q.3 What are the opportunities and challenges for Indian MSMEs in communication sector?
As I said, 70 percent of India is still unconnected so every player has huge opportunities. Everyday people are getting on to the digital platform & motivating the unconnected people to connect & hence, demand is increasing every day. Not only consumer base is getting up every day but also demand of data & content delivery is increasing. For example, consumers today require 4k video & HD voice quality which requires huge data consumption & they are now evolving to use digital way for many daily to daily activities. Entry of Jio into the telecom space, have given a huge dent to MSMEs at every step. MSMEs business went too slow at the time that survival was worrisome & still recovering. Low data users switched to Jio & hence, many of the companies which were not able to meet their operational expenses shut down which even lead to a huge unemployment. This year increment in import duties have posed another challenge to companies as products got expensive heavily to afford by many of the companies & hence losing the business at times.
Q.4 Are Indian MSMEs focusing more on innovation nowadays or they are just being a facilitator for foreign-made branded communication products and solutions?
Innovation requires infrastructure and unfortunately we lack considerably on innovation front in India especially in telecom manufacturing sector, so we are forced to rely on foreign made branded communication products. Though there are some companies which have in-house R&D labs to develop prototypes & testing, but those products are not up to mark in finesse & performance so market is not walking with them.
Q.5 What is the most challenging part of your business?
Getting efficient workforce has always been a challenge huge problem and other issues such as handling customer site work; and providing customized solutions to our clients as well as developing innovative communication tools are directly or indirectly related to the issue of efficient work force. Human resources are not that well trained as per the need of the industry. I hope that skill development programmes currently under progress will change the scenario in near future.