The Indian government has received the 2023 'Government Leadership Award' at the GSMA's Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2023 event in Barcelona, Spain, Union IT Ashwini Vaishnaw informed on Tuesday.

The GSMA is an association representing mobile operators and global mobile industry.

"The reforms introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government in the telecom sector have transformed it completely. This global award recognises those efforts," the minister said.

"Target of pan-India 5G coverage will be achieved by the end of next year. In a landmark achievement, 387 districts have already been covered under 5G services," Vaishnaw informed.

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw
Ashwini VaishnawIANS

Lt Gen Dr SP Kochhar, Director General, the Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) said that the GSMA's 'Government Leadership Award' recognises world-class leadership in the establishment of sound regulatory policies for mobile connectivity.

"We express our warm compliments on this tremendous achievement, especially to the Union Minister of Communications & IT, the Minister of State for Communications, the Telecom Secretary, as well as the entire Department of Telecommunications and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, for the prolific leadership and dynamic support provided to the industry," Kochhar said in a statement.

A visitors walks past a 5G sign during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain
A visitors walks past a 5G sign during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

The industry is delighted and greatly enthused by this development, and "we look forward to playing our role in taking the Indian telecom sector to further heights and help achieve more milestones going ahead," he added.

The Indian government has undertaken several initiatives, such as amending the Right of Way (RoW) policy, working towards a framework for small cell deployment on street furniture, and lowering the reserve price of spectrum in 5G auctions, among other significant policy reforms.

Meanwhile, Reliance Jio has launched True 5G service in 277 cities across the country and is on the path to achieve the declared goal to increase the Jio 5G footprint to cover every town, taluka and tehsil across the country by December this year.

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India is poised to become one of the largest 5G markets in the world in the coming years. The recent reforms introduced by the government of India have been pro-competitive, incentivised innovation and investment, and enhanced consumer welfare. 

Additionally, policymakers have issued timely consultations keeping pace with technological developments such as AI and Big Data, reforming the legislation governing the telecommunications sector, using embedded SIM, rating of areas for digital connectivity and many others. India's digital transformation journey has been remarkable.