First edition of three-day India Mobile Congress (IMC) beginning September 27, 2017 will see who’s who of Indian telecom fields — including Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal and Idea Cellular Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla — will see speak their minds on the prevailing scenario in the Indian telecom sector. It will be interesting to watch these key players, including Vodafone Global CEO Vittorio Colao who is likely to join the inaugural session through video call, how they react to upheaval in the cellular industry post entry of Reliance Jio.

IMC organised by Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) with cooperation with Telecom, and Electronic and IT Ministries, is the first global event in mobile, internet and technology sectors happening in India. IMC will showcase India’s development in the telecom sector and is likely to attract more foreign investments in India. It is also a platform where India will showcase its success stories to the world. As many as 5,000 global delegates and 1,000 homegrown start-ups have confirmed their presence at the IMC. 

In an exclusive interview to our Correspondent Parul Manchanda, COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews talks about what all to expect at the India Mobile Congress

What is the purpose of organising IMC?

IMC will put together various efforts to create a platform where India will showcase its success stories to the world. With an international event like this, India will show its supremacy in the global world. Indian telecom market second largest in the world only after China and is also one of the fastest growing markets in the world. It has a tremendous potential to attract foreign talent and investment. 

Explain to us the roadmap of IMC?

IMC is a much-awaited initiative taken by COAI, the Department of Telecom (DoT) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). We have got significant support from the government. Various Ministers will be attending the IMC which include Manoj Sinha (Telecom), Ravi Shankar Prasad (IT), Nirmala Sitharaman (Defence), Piyush Goyal (Railways) and Dharmendra Pradhan (Petroleum). Some Chief Ministers will also be participating in the IMC.

We have got tremendous support from the government as well as from the industry. Various industry bodies like the NASSCOM, ICA, IMAI, TAIPA and AUSPI have worked with us to make it a truly international event. There will be discussion sessions on 5G, digital life, Internet of Things where leaders from globe will participate. The key focus of IMC is on knowledge sharing, exhibitions, start-ups, skill development, Prime Minister’s initiatives — Digital India and Make in India.

Initially you faced some problems in getting things going. How did you managed it?

Though we were a bit late in starting ground work for the IMC, in last six months we have managed to put a show at par with global standards. I think, this is a tremendous achievement. I can assure that it will be a highly successful event where we will showcase India to the world. It is also a learning experience for us. Next year we will do better than this year. 

Who all are the key participants in IMC?

Various international embassies are coming to IMC, which is not a small thing. Countries like USA, UK, Finland, Germany, Korea, the Philippines, Japan, France and Israel are participating. Special invitations have also been sent to delegates of neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.

We have handset manufacturers participating like Oppo, Motorola, Samsung and Nokia, besides 300 plus exhibitors who have put up their stalls. Global giants like Nokia, Qualcomm, Facebook, Google, Cisco, Mediatek are also participating in the event. Presence of car telematics companies, E-healthcare companies and m-agri solutions firms will make the event interesting.

How do you see the future of Indian Mobile Industry?

I think long-term opportunities are there. The question is what does it take to make use of opportunities which are present. Various opportunities like Machine-to-Machine, Internet of Things, Cloud Computing are all big opportunities available. Why Amazon is so successful? Just because it is giving some indications of the future in terms of what is going to succeed. Automation, artificial intelligence, robotics — all of these things will succeed. This is the segment where all mobile operators play. There are plenty of opportunities, but in order to take advantage you have to make industry to invest enough resources. If the government will not help to fix the health of the industry, these opportunities will not mature.

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