A draft National Telecom Policy 2018 that is liberal and non-prescriptive in its licensing approach in Machine to Machine (M2M) communication is being given final touches. The policy should be in the public domain in the next two to three weeks for discussion and responses from stakeholders, Ms Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Department of Telecom, Ministry of Communications, said here today.
At the launch of FICCI-EY report on ‘ M2M- changing lives of 130 crore+ Indians’, Ms Sundararajan said, “M2M is the next big opportunity for India in terms of its impact and the quantum change that it will bring about in the quality of services and delivery. The favourable impact of M2M on job creation had already set in as seen by the arrival of the first set of start-ups in areas such as agriculture, smart cities, healthcare and water management”. She stressed that NTP 2018 would be transformative in harnessing the full benefits of M2M communications.
While launching the report which provides inputs to the government on M2M communications to help formulate the M2M policy framework, Ms Sundararajan said that in the M2M framework the focus would be on low cost manufacturing, where exciting innovation is already happening.
Machine to Machine (M2M) communications supported by cross-industry collaboration are expected to have a fundamental impact on the way we live and work, reduce waste, improve health and meet other major social and economic needs such as security, transportation and logistics, education and energy. M2M communications are also set to change the way businesses operate. The ability to use and capitalise on the data collected by M2M is helping companies build and sustain competitive advantage. Companies are using M2M to find new revenue streams, improve margins, productivity and customer experience, and foster innovation.
Proliferation of M2M is attributed to advancements in semi-conductor technologies and decline in the cost of sensors, both of which are the building blocks of the M2M ecosystem. The government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative has the potential to further bring down hardware costs. With the current growth momentum, M2M connections are likely to reach 429m by 2021.
Mr. Virat Bhatia, Chairman, FICCI ICT & Digital Economy Committee said, “This report by FICCI and EY on M2M provides detailed inputs on all aspects of the IoT potential, business models and regulatory regime that are currently under consideration by the government in the run-up to the proposed NTP 2018. It represents the views of a broad section of cross-sectoral members.”
Prashant Singhal, Emerging Markets Technology, Media & Entertainment and Telecommunications (TMT) Leader and Global Telecommunications Leader, EY, said, “A progressive policy framework has the potential to nurture transformational M2M growth in India and aid long-term sustainability for the players. For M2M to achieve its full potential, it is imperative to identify the right level of regulation which enables the larger ecosystem and sectors to connect, collaborate and innovate. M2M is a multi-billion opportunity for India and can change the lives of ‘Aam Admi’ in this country”.
The FICCI-EY report notes that considering the dynamism and diversity of the ICT sector of India, there is a huge growth potential of M2M and related businesses. The M2M communication technology has the potential to not only transform business for enterprises, but can also empower millions of lives through benefits derived through useful applications across industry sectors. At present, M2M services have started expanding in India, and require enabling regulations, falling cost of the overall M2M services and devices and innovative services for the masses, to reach its true potential.
The primary value proposition of M2M is its ability to transcend various industry verticals and support multiple use cases. Automotive and transportation, Power and utilities, oil and gas, manufacturing and healthcare are likely to lead M2M adoption in India. M2M can overcome numerous challenges such as delivering improved healthcare to the larger population.
The report states that for M2M to achieve its full potential – it is imperative for the larger ecosystem and sectors to connect, collaborate and innovate. With the National Telecom Policy 2018 on the anvil, a favourable regulatory environment will be critical in the success of M2M. Swift periodic adjustments to accommodate cross sectors and newer use cases will lead to sustainable M2M growth.
Some of the key inputs provided by the FICCI-EY report for the growth and development of the M2M ecosystem are:
· Broad regulatory approach to M2M: Follow light-touch regulations currently working in countries that lead M2M deployments.
· KYC norms, roaming and global SIM: Rely on international best practices for roaming and global SIM. For pure B2B M2M applications, KYC and SIM registration rules are not relevant. Moreover, define KYC obligations for M2M players as well as OEMs that provide devices to the customers. M2M need to have the ownership of all SIMs taken from telecom licensees
· Spectrum requirements: No separate allocation of spectrum is required and can continue to be provided over the licensed spectrum acquired by service providers. Moreover, The 700 MHz spectrum should be treated holistically instead of prioritizing any specific usage for voice or data
· QoS: QoS is best left to mutual agreement between stakeholders. Service providers should have maximum flexibility to manage end to end QoS for customers. There is no requirement of M2M-specific QoS measures, it is best left to the mutual agreement among stakeholders
· Security: No specific security measures are required for M2M. Existing measures and provisions, as mandated under the licensing and policy regime, should be used to ensure security of networks and data. The GSMA IoT Security Guidelines can be used as a reference set for security and privacy best practices
· Privacy: The telecom licensing conditions in terms of privacy should be amended to bring it in line with the IT Act 2000. Moreover, no specific regulations on privacy is required, but a multi-stakeholder approach is desired. Privacy-by-design should be followed as a guiding principle
The report covers various facets of the M2M market capturing prevalent global practices and highlighting key issues and concerns of various stakeholders. In addition, the report touches upon the current adoption of M2M, market potential, growth drivers and key benefits. M2M finds applicability across a number of industries with a wide range of use cases, which are highlighted in the report along with linkages between M2M services and various Government of India programs. The report provides key inputs and recommendations to overcome some of the impediments to M2M growth in India and to aid in policy formulation.