BELIEVE it or not, the next parliamentary election in 2019 will be fought on the mobile screen. The government is in top gear to provide electricity to every home and install broadcast towers to reach every mobile user. The posters, sound bites, live speeches, discussions, TV coverage, all will be on mobile phones. PM, Chief Ministers, Ministers, MP, MLAs, Corporators, all will be planning to reach mobile phone users. It is going to be a completely technology-driven election. The ruling BJP is way ahead of their competitors. There are about 65 crore mobile phone users in India, and just over 30 crore of them have a smart phone, according to technology consultancy Counterpoint Research. Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is tech savvy himself has drawn up a long plan. Sources disclosed that his plan is to reach every village of India before the announcement of elections. And, voila, an expansion in relay towers. According to a Deloitte India report, India currently has around 400,000 telecom towers and the growth is expected at around 3 per cent annually over the next four-five years to take the numbers to 511,000 by 2020. Indus Towers (a conglomerate of mobile operators) is the market leader with 31 per cent share, followed by BSNL with 18.1 per cent. Now, BSNL has been instructed via a cabinet note to launch a new company to build towers as fast they can. BSNL is the only company with towers in all the difficult and strategic areas like the northeast, Jammu and Kashmir and the so-called Naxal belt. But BSNL is not taking any chance; they are tying up with Tikona and other tower service providers to reach all smart phone users. Given the mood, Reliance has taken the opportunity to launch Jio Phone 2. Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani unveiled the plans for a fibre-based home broadband service which will be rolled out across 1,100 cities and target 5 crore homes.
VOL. 12 | ISSUE 4 | JULY 2018