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Tech exec: India fails to spell out internet of things impact in digital policy

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Tech exec: India fails to spell out internet of things impact in digital policy

The draft of India's new National Digital Communications Policy, or NDCP, has, so far, failed to detail how players in the internet of things space will be impacted, despite IoT being a key part of the new government proposal.

Juergen Hase, CEO of Reliance Group Inc.'s business venture UNLIMIT, which develops and supports IoT solutions across India, said during a June 12 webinar that the new policy does not set out formal, detailed guidelines for IoT and machine-to-machine service providers, such as business registration processes.

A draft of the NDCP, previously named the National Telecom Policy 2012, was released by India’s Department of Telecommunications on May 1, addressing emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G, robotics, cloud computing, IoT and M2M communications.

The new policy should create 4 million jobs, attract US$100 billion in foreign investments and expand the IoT ecosystem to 5 billion connected devices by 2022, according to the released document. The strategy also aims to provide every household with high download speeds and should attract talent and investments into the telecom space.

The draft, which is currently up for consultation, touches on ways that the policy will ensure a "holistic and harmonized" approach for the deployment of new technologies, such as IoT, by simplifying licensing and regulatory frameworks, while ensuring security frameworks for IoT services.

However, Hase pointed out that the draft document does not provide any further details.

He said various government bodies are taking a fragmented approach and called for a need to collaborate and engage in "open discussions with the [Department of Telecommunications] on collecting relevant information from key markets like M2M and IoT."

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, or TRAI, the country's telecoms watchdog, said in September 2017 that all telecom providers are allowed to provide M2M and IoT solutions within their specified circle of operations, with license holders using existing spectrum, while the Department of Telecommunications reportedly issued, in April, a range of 13-digit numbers to telecom operators to conduct a M2M communications trial.

Hase said that the Indian government must not "copy" other markets as its telecom industry varies drastically to other countries around the world with its 22 so-called telecom circles, or service areas, and low price tariffs.

Rather, India "must go its own way," he added.

This should involve working with various bodies, including the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and TRAI, according to Hase.

"If India works on creating one umbrella requirement for IoT operators, IoT applications will be seen in a range of industries, from the automotive to the transport to the finance sectors," he said.

Hase expects that India's IoT industry is pegged to reach US$15 billion, with 2.7 billion connected devices, by 2020.

"In the telco industry, connectivity for IoT stacks can contribute to more than 20% of its overall revenue," he concluded.

The new telecom policy is expected to be cleared by the government at the end of next month, according to local media.