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Monday, May 20, 2024

Telcos urged to invest in AI, share revenue with large apps

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In Short:

The telecom industry says that as artificial intelligence use grows, network investments will rise, but some big traffic generators get a free ride, hurting operators. Industry wants revenue share from LTGs, but tech and app makers oppose, citing net neutrality issues and higher costs. COAI seeks fair contributions to balance costs for 5G and 6G, with examples from the USA and EU. Global action needed for a sustainable future.

New Delhi: The telecom industry has emphasized that the increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) will lead to a significant rise in investments in networks. However, some large traffic generators (LTGs) are currently benefiting from the infrastructure without sharing the costs, which is creating financial challenges for operators.

Industry’s Demand for Revenue Share

The industry has called for LTGs to share revenue, pointing to examples from countries like the USA, European Union, South Korea, and Brazil where solutions to this issue are being explored.

Response from Tech Bodies and App Makers

Tech bodies and app developers have opposed telcos’ demand for a revenue share, citing concerns about net neutrality, increased costs for subscribers, and limitations on innovation. Telcos, however, reject these arguments.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) highlighted that the convergence of various verticals and technologies will lead to the emergence of bandwidth-intensive applications, necessitating additional investments in networks.

Future Challenges with 5G and 6G

COAI mentioned that upcoming technologies like 5G and 6G will require enhanced network capabilities and edge deployments, further straining the networks.

COAI referenced the US and EU as examples where legislation is being considered to make major digital traffic generators contribute to infrastructure costs, similar to what is being proposed in India.

Concerns for Indian Telcos

The industry projected an additional investment of Rs 10,000 crore due to LTGs, highlighting that offsetting these costs through tariff hikes would not be feasible. COAI emphasized the need for government intervention to address this critical issue and set a precedent globally.

Call for Responsible Contribution

The industry urged entities benefiting from Indian telecom infrastructure to make a responsible contribution to ensure a sustainable and progressive future for ‘Digital India’.

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