Mobile data consumption in India surpassed the combined usage of the US and China in 2017, a year that saw the landscape of the telecom sector being altered with bitter competition and setting-in of the much awaited consolidation phase.
With latent demand for data fuelling the digital economy, 2018 could be the growth year for the sector where investment of around Rs 3 lakh crore is estimated to be made in next two years.
In what could be considered as a transformational year for the Indian telecom sector, 2017 saw telcos consolidate like never before, leaving just three major players in the market by the end of the year. It only proved that telecom sector has become a money guzzler where only those with deep pockets can survive.
While the mighty house of Tatas gifted away their telecom business to Bharti Airtel, billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio Infocomm acquired spectrum, mobile-phone towers and fibre assets of his brother Anil Ambani's Reliance Communications Ltd.
On the other hand, Vodafone India and Idea decided to merge to become the country's largest operator. Airtel bought Telenor's ailing Indian subsidiary, Telenor India, as also Tikona Digital Network.
"This year was of consolidation for the sector. Next year will be a year of growth for the sector," Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan told PTI summing up the macro scenario of the sector for 2017 and 2018.