Buoyed by exploding subscriber growth in telecommunications including broadband connections over the past few years, the nation's telecom equipment makers are bullish that the industry would address a $100 bn market by 2010, from the current level of less than $3 bn.
In order to achieve the target, the Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association (TEMA), an industry body that groups domestic, global in both private and government sectors, recently brainstormed to further the industry's interests and began by renaming itself as the "Telecom Enterprises and Manufacturers Association"--retaining its acronym in the process.
The new president of TEMA, PS Ramesh, who is also managing director of Bangalore-based Measurement & Control Ltd, said, "It is recognized that the manufacturing concept is increasingly dependent on technology, software, design and expertise to arrange the right components at the right time.
Introspection amongst members has led us to a conclusion that the name of the association should reflect its objective."
NK Goyal, president, Indian Manufacturing Foundation and Chairman Emeritus, TEMA said, "To achieve the $100 bn target, issues such as excise duty rationalization, CST (central sales tax) abolition, international financing, ease of custom clearances and government procedures need urgent and immediate attention."
The requirement of telecom equipment in India during the 11th Five-Year Plan that starts next year is expected to be about $73 billion or Rs 72,800 crore for the entire period and exports are expected to be about Rs 12,000 crore by 2012.
TEMA is betting on the robust growth witnessed in the telecom sector with a monthly addition of more than six million connections during last few months.
At the end of the 11th plan, the nation's subscriber base is expected to touch 575 million from the current level of 108 million.
It is also expected that third generation (3G) mobile phone services would be available in all cities that have a population of more than one lakh.
Further, the broadband policy envisages a total of 20 million broadband connections and 40 million Internet connections by 2010. At the end of 11th Plan, in 2012, the total broadband connections are expected to be 150 million, comprising 100 million wireless customers and 50 million wireline connections.
“The challenge is that TEMA should continue its role, as association strongly pushing for India to make a telecom manufacturing hub," Ramesh said.