The Indian telecommunications sector shaped by consumer demand, innovation and competitive forces offers tremendous growth opportunities. With the second largest subscriber base in the world with 1.06 billon connections (including fixed phone lines), the telecom industry is booming. Recently, India with 275 million smart-phone subscribers, outpaced the United States, to become the second largest smart-phone subscriber base in the world. 38 new mobile manufacturing units have been set up since September 2015, which has ramped up the manufacturing of mobile phone units in 2015-16 by 90%.1

The mobile industry in India, currently contributing 6.5% (USD 140 billion) to country’s GDP, and employing over 4 million people (direct and indirect), is projected to grow rapidly in the coming years. By 2020, the industry is expected to contribute 8.2% to country’s GDP, and add 800,000 more jobs. In terms of unique mobile phone subscribers, India is expected to cross the 1 billion mark by 2020. India will see an increase in adoption of 4G services with number of 4G connections estimated to grow to 280 million by 2020 from just 3 million in 2015.2

The volumes and potential growth of the mobile market accompanied by favorable policies makes India an important investment destination for domestic as well as foreign investors.

Policy Initiatives & Major Investments FDI Policy

100% FDI is allowed in telecom sector, of this 49% is allowed through the automatic route. This is applicable in case of Basic, Cellular, Unified License (Access Services), Unified License, National! International Long Distance, Commercial V-Sat, Public Mobile Radio Trunked Services (PMRTS), Global Mobile Personal Communications Services (GMPCS), all types of ISP licenses, Voice Mail/ Audiotex/Unified Messaging Services (U MS), Resale of International Private Leased Circuits (IPLC), Mobile Number Portability Services, etc.

FDI in Telecom sector is subject to observance of licensing and security conditions by licensee as well as investors as notified by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) from time to time, except “Other Service Providers”, which are allowed 100% FDI on the automatic route.

FDI Inflow

Total FDI in Telecommunications sector from April 2014 to March 2016 was around USD 4.19 billion.

List of major foreign investments in the sector are provided in Annexure I.

Fiscal Incentives

Basic customs duty (BCD) and special additional duty have been withdrawn and importers of mobile handset components such as chargers, adaptors, batteries and wired headsets need to pay only the countervailing duty of 12.5%.

A duty advantage of 10.5% exists for local manufacturers of mobile speakers and batteries.

Growth trends in the last two years

The country’s telecom sector is witnessing rapid growth and competition among key players and is currently the world’s second largest market in terms of subscribers, with more than 1.06 billion connectivity (Telephone subscribers (wireless and wireline), 616 million unique subscribers, 166 million broadband subscribers, 430 million mobile broadband connections, and 350 million plus internet users.

This phenomenal growth of the sector is driving the demand for telecom equipment including mobile phones, which is around USD 20 billion currently and is estimated to exceed USD 30 billion by 2020.3

  • The net addition in total connections in rural areas during April 2014 to March 2016 was 99 million. Rural tele-density reached over 51% at the end of September, 2016.
  • As per the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), production of telephone instruments including mobile phones & accessories rose by 7.1% in 2015-16. During the quarter-ended June 2016, its output rose by
  • The National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) programme to provide broadband to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats was rebranded in April 2015 as Bharat Net. Under Bharat Net project, optical fibre has reached 59,945 Gram Panchayats and optical fiber cable has been laid for 137,513 kms.
  • In order to enable citizens to access internet, BSNL has commissioned 2504 Wi-Fi hotspots in over 1227 locations such as Tourist Places, Heritage Sites, Airports, Parks, University Campuses, Schools, Colleges, etc.
  • Spectrum sharing and trading have been approved and guidelines were issued on September 24, 2015 and October 12, 2015 respectively.

Growth in Mobile economy

In 2015, the mobile industry contributed 6.5% to India s GDP (USD 140 billion) and provided direct and indirect employment to 4 million people in India. The mobile economy, with a current subscription penetration rate of 40%, is expected to grow at a faster rate than the economy as a whole, and contribute 8.2% to India s GDP by 2020 and create 800,000 new jobs in this sector.4

  • The smartphone market in India grew from 149 million users in 2014 to 275 million users in 2016, outpacing U.S to occupy the number two spot in the global smartphone
  • 38 new Mobile manufacturing units, with over 20 million units per month capacity, have been set up since September 2015. These units have generated 38,300 employment opportunities.5 List of the mobile manufacturing units are in Annexure
  • Number of mobile phone units manufactured in FY 2015-16 grew by 90% to 110 million in FY 2015-16 from 60 million in FY 2014-15.6
  • The department has constituted a Fast Track Task Force (FTTF) to ‘catalyze and reestablish’significant growth in mobile handsets and component manufacturing ecosystem in India. It is expected to promote large scale manufacturing/assembling activity to achieve production of 500 million mobile handsets by 2019.
  • The Task Force is also looking at the establishment of a sizable components industry worth USD 8 billion and creating 1.5 million jobs.

Innovation and R&D

Artificial Intelligence would be the catalyst driving future innovation in global mobile technology according to GSMA, the global mobile industry association and standards body (personal assistants like Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri – voice interface that controls and coordinates devices and data across wide range of applications would be in higher demand).

Telecom Centre of Excellence (TCoE)

Centres of Excellences (CoE) at 8 premier technical institutes such as Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, Chennai, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Mumbai and Roorkee and one each at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and Indian Institute of Management, Ahmadabad in PPP mode. A CoE for Internet of Things (IoT) launched in Bengaluru in PPP mode in August 2016.

Bringing together Academic Institutions, Telecom Industry and Government will create an ecosystem for sustainable growth of Telecom Sector in the country.

Two of the major technologies in areas of Advanced Communication, Convergence and Broadband Technologies that have been recently developed and transferred to industry to enable manufacturing are:

  • Software Defined Radio for Naval Communication (SDR-NC), and
  • TETRA – Terrestrial Trunked Radio technology for usage by Police and Army

Skill Development

Telecom Sector Skill Council (TSSC) has empanelled 650 training partners across the country and trained 3.5 lakh persons so far in telecom training courses, which include 60,000 enrolled under the scheme of skill development in Electronic System Design & Manufacturing (ESDM).

Annexure I
Major foreign investments in the sector during April 2014 to March 2016

Foreign Collaborator Country Indian Company FDI (USD million)
Prime Metals Limited Mauritius Vodafone India 1,500.79
Videocon Mauritius Energy Limited Mauritius Videocon International Electronics Limited 719.76
Federal Agency For State Property Manage Russia Sistema Shyam Teleservices Limited 451.83
Telenor Asia Pte Limited Singapore Unitech Wireless Tamilnadu Private Limited 298.75
Telenor South Asia Investment Pte Limited Singapore Telewings Communication Services Private Limited 274.40
QIB Class Mauritius Bharti Infratel Limited 240.37
Axiata Investments 2(India) Limited Mauritius Idea Cellular Limited 123.22
NTT Communications Corporation Japan Netmagic Solutions Private Limited 85.79
Omega FII Investment Pte Limited Singapore Tata Sky Limited 53.89
Tiger Global Eight Holdings Mauritius Hike Private Limited 50.80
Essel International Limited Mauritius Siti Cable Network Limited 48.17
International Finance Corporation U.S.A Tikona Digital Networks Private Limited 46.39
Anchor Investors(Total 6 Investors) Mauritius Bharti Infratel Limited 32.59
Essar Telecom Limited Mauritius Agc Networks Limited 29.13
Network Digital Distribution Services FZ UAE Tata Sky Limited 23.77
Tower Vision Mauritius Limited Mauritius Tower Vision India Private Limited 23.71
EGN B.V Netherlands Orange Business Services India Network P, Global One (India) Private Limited 19.39
GS Investment Partners (Mauritius) I Lim Mauritius Tikona Digital Networks Private Limited 16.17
South Asia Entertainment Holdings Limite Mauritius Sun Direct TV Private Limited 16.17
AGC Holdings Limited Mauritius Aegis Aspire Consultancy Services Limited 15.56
Bharti Softbank Holdings Pte Limited Singapore Hike Private Limited 12.26
Droom Pte Limited Singapore Droom Technology Private Limited 10.81

Annexure II
New mobile handset manufacturing units established in India during September 2015 to October 2016.

Name Of The Brand / Company /
Ems Company
No. of Units Location of Units Mfg.
(Mn Units /
(In Nos.)
Foxconn (Rising Star Mobiles India (P) Ltd.) 5 1.   Sri City 2.5 8000
2.   Sri City
3.   Sri City
4.   Sri City
5. Maharashtra
Micromax (Bhagwati Products Ltd.) 1 Hyderabad, Telangana 0.3 600
MCM (Million Club Manufacturing) 1 Noida, UP 1.0 1500
Lava International 2 1.   Noida, UP 2.0 5000
2.   Noida, UP
Intex Technologies 4 1.   Noida, UP 3.0 5000
2.   Noida, UP
3.   Jammu
4.   Baddi, HP
Celkon Mobiles 1 Medchal, Telangana 0.5 1200
Dixon Technologies (India) Private Limited 1 Noida, UP 1.0 900
GDN 1 Greater Noida, UP 1.0 1200
Vivo Mobile 1 Greater Noida, UP 0.3 500
Videocon 2 Aurangabad, Maharashtra 1.0 2000
Kasipur, Uttarakhand
Flextronics 1 Sriperumbudur, TN 1.3 2500
SEPL 1 Haridwar, Uttarakhand 0.5 1000
TMB Electronics 1 Kundli, Haryana 0.4 800
Innovative Industries 1 Delhi 0.4 700
Labanyo Electronics 1 Noida, UP 0.2 500
KMC Electronics 1 Kotdwar, UP 0.7 1000
Champion Computers 1 Delhi 0.3 500
BGM Electronics 1 Shahibabad, UP 0.4 500
SST Electronics 1 Kundli, Haryana 0.4 500
Hyve Mobiles 1 Delhi 0.3 300
Bingo Mobiles Tech. 1 Noida, UP 0.2 300
Delhi Phone Battery 1 Haridwar, Uttarakhand 0.5 800
ADCOM 1 Delhi (Kirti Nagar) 0.1 300
VSUN 1 Bawal, Haryana 1.7 1800
Hi-Tech 1 Kolkata, WB 0.2 600
Higher Industries (India) Pvt. Ltd. 1 Mundka, Delhi 0.5 300
Runsheng Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 1 Faridabad, UP
Compal (Mnfc. for LeEco) 1 Greater Noida, UP
Penguine Electronics 1 Daman
Total 38 20.7 38300

Contact Us

1) Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion,

Ministry of Commerce and Industry,

Udyog Bhawan, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Marg, Rajpath Road Area, Central Secretariat,

New Delhi, Delhi 110011

2) Department of Telecommunications

Ministry of Communications

Sanchar Bhawan, Asoka Road, Sansad Marg Area, New Delhi, Delhi 110001

3) Knowledge Partner : KPMG

Building No. 10, 8th Floor, Tower B & C, DLF Cyber City, Phase II,

Gurgaon, Haryana 122 002

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