In its National Telecom Policy 2012 (NTP-2012), the Government of India set out its vision, objectives and targets to extend the reach of broadband in the country over the coming years. Delivering this vision, and meeting the ambitious targets for coverage and data speeds, will require significant attention to factors on both the supply side and the demand side.

On the supply side, regulators and operators need to tackle the constraints of limited spectrum availability, device affordability and network performance gaps. On the demand side, the industry needs to ensure it can meet the pent-up demand for mobile broadband, while stimulating interest in and uptake of services in new markets with new revenue models.

Operators will need to pay close attention to network quality and pricing, and facilitate innovation in local apps and content. They will need to evaluate incremental revenue opportunities by addressing vertical markets, such as entertainment, education, banking, utilities, health care, and travel and transport, and expand beyond traditional services into machine-to-machine services.

The NTP-2012 targets are achievable, but only if market needs are met. These include the availability of low-cost (sub-USD 50) and capable smartphones, the resolution of spectrum issues (greater availability, appropriate pricing, harmonized bands and contiguity), and investment in infrastructure.