The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) and COAI have launched the fourth edition of the India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2020, on December 8, 2020. The three-day mega-event, themed “Inclusive Innovation: Smart, Secure, Sustainable” was inaugurated by Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India.

In the inaugural address, Modi, appreciated Indian telecom sector’s relentless innovation and effort that helped the country function smoothly during the pandemic. Be it in making healthcare more affordable and accessible to people, providing online education to the students or even in making essential services available to all in a hassle-free manner. He stated, that ,”Now, we need to work together to ensure timely roll-out of 5G network connectivity in order to leapfrog into the future and empower millions of Indians. We are also in fact embarking on a plan to ensure that over the next 3 years, every village have high speed fibre optic connectivity. India is emerging as one of the most preferred destination for mobile manufacturing. It is of paramount importance, considering the fact that, it is with the help of mobile technology that we will embark on one of the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination drive.”

The inaugural session was also attended by Ravi Shankar Prasad – Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice, Sanjay Dhotre – Union Minister of State for Communications, Education and Electronics & Information Technology, Government of India, Anshu Prakash, IAS – Chairman DCC & Secretary (T), Department of Telecommunications, Sunil Bharti Mittal – Chairman, Bharti Enterprises Limited, and Mukesh Ambani – Chairman Reliance Industries Limited amongst others.

Speaking at the Conclave, Prasad stated that India has immense talent and innovative spirit which must be leveraged for 4G and 5G. ” “Technology must be smart, secure and sustainable so that common people come to have a stake in the process. India has the potential to become the hub of global supply chain. Ease of doing business is attracting global companies to set up shop in India and the incentive linked investment scheme is helping in this. I want to urge innovators and manufacturers to Make in India and export outside and earn incentives in the process. Also, digital inclusion and empowerment is the priority now and tech like AI should also work towards ensuring this. Be it JAM, UPI, GSTN – all is now managed digitally. This Inclusive character of digital is something that the world can replicate from us. I have no doubt about the fact that we will become 1 trillion dollar digital economy in the next 5 years.”

Meanwhile, Dhotre shared that there has been a 30 per cent jump in data consumption with many subscribers upgrading their broadband connections to meet their requirements during the pandemic. He added that efforts are being made to address the digital divide by extending internet access to every Indian as mobile technology use empowers the masses to become a critical means of accessing a broad range of public services.

Prakash stated that the Indian telecom sector was able to demonstrate its strength in dealing with the Covid-19 situation. The telecom networks did not fail us even for a day. “The massive data consumption surge accommodated quite easily and all stakeholders deserve full praise of this success. Robotics, AI, VR, AR- every new technology will run on telecom. It is important for us now to bridge the digital divide, innovate to bring in more intelligent products that are secure and environmentally sustainable”, he added.

Meanwhile, Ambani in his address emphasised on the need of urgent policy steps to ensure availability of 5G technology and smartphones in India. “In order to maintain this lead, policy steps are needed to accelerate early rollout of 5G, and to make it affordable and available everywhere,” he said.

Mittal also stated that 5G will soon become a norm in the connectivity space. “I’m particularly very excited about the upcoming 5G which in the next two or three years should start to become the norm in the mobile broadband space as the world settles down on the 5G space pricing of the equipment comes down and importantly the devices start getting available in plenty,” he said.

IMC 2020, scheduled to be held virtually from December 8th, 2020 to December 10th, 2020 will highlight the journey from smart devices to a smarter world, safe and secure technology and breakthroughs in the domain, easy and inclusive tech adoption and environmentally sustainable futuristic tech. The theme is further sub-divided into 5 categories: 5G, IoT, Robotics, AI and VR. There will be virtual product demonstrations, industry meetings, conference sessions, roundtables and business interactions with industry giants.

Considered as the largest digital technology event and also the biggest international tech conference in South Asia, IMC will continue its legacy of being the perfect congregation to display, discuss, and recognise the importance of global and Indian telecommunications, mobile and internet connectivity and digital services sector.