Mobile data services are set to grow in India, if the government accepts the regulator's recommendations on making spectrum service-neutral - a move that will benefit service providers in revenue terms.
With about 920 million mobile connections, India is one of the fastest growing telecom markets, but it is primarily a voice market and lags in data services.
Industry data shows that in India only 13% of a telecom service provider's revenue comes from mobile data services - much less than countries like Japan, China and the USA.
In its recommendations on auction of spectrum, Telecom regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has said the government should allow successful bidders to offer 2G, 3G and 4G services.Currently, mobile operators are not allowed to offer 3G or 4G services on spectrum alloted for 2G. "This will benefit operators as revenues will rise," said a former head of a telecom company. "Generally, data users generate more revenue than voice."
"It will be good for the consumers as they will get high speed data services, which they have been denied now," said an analyst. "Liberalisation and refarming of spectrum are two issues that the government has accepted. TRAI recommendations are an important for its implementation."