The fourth generation or 4G internet has made its grand entry into the Indian market at a very opportune time - when the economy is on the verge of a recovery and ripe for a digital revolution.
In simple terms, 4G is the next generation internet technology that enables higher speed data on the smartphones and other such devices. In a world which is getting increasingly dependent on digital technology, higher speed of internet means better information flow, which in turn will boost business and economic growth.
The NDA government is focussing on technology and mobile to widen financial inclusion and eradicate poverty. Higher data speeds will only help achieve this goal easier.
However, the telecom space in India is now seeing a battle between telcom operators over the entry of Reliance Jio on 5 September. The battle has intensified so much that it is overshadowing the real benefits that 4G offers for businesses.
The edit in the The Economic Times puts it right when it says that the rivalry between telecom operators has been so much the focus of debates that "the real impact of superfast fourth generation communication networks tends to get obscured".
Reliance Jio's entry has reduced the data tariff, with all the telcos gearing up to meet the challenge. As the article points out, not only has the data fares dropped, even the price of smartphones are falling.
This is important as digital economy thrives on smartphones and affordable ones will be a big boost.
"When smartphones and highspeed data connections become ubiquitous, the nature of business will undergo a digital shift in practically all sectors, from logistics to healthcare, and in all functions from marketing to business continuity and tax compliance," says the ET article.
One of the biggest beneficiaries will be the startup sector. It must be remembered that most of the entrepreneurs are focussed on technology. Higher speed data will attract more youngsters to turn entrepreneurs, thus boosting job creation. After all jobs have been the weak link in the India growth story until now. High speed data may help address this.
The power of high speed internet was aptly demonstrated by Amitabh Bachchan in his tweets on Monday.
T 2378 - A day with video connect to over 100 schools all over India, sitting in my office ! Thank you RelianceJio ! pic.twitter.com/6VPS32NqOO
— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) September 13, 2016
The short point here is competition is good for the economy and businesses. Just like the fall in data prices and smartphone prices, healthy competition will also boost investment. Vodafone's decision to invest $3 billion more in India, as reported by The Economic Times today, is a proof of that.
It is high time telcom operators got over the worries of competition and embraced the new technology wholeheartedly. There is much to be gained.
Disclosure: Firstpost is part of Network18 Media & Investment Limited which is owned by Reliance Industries Limited.