Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday exhorted the sector to make India a hub for telecom equipment manufacturing. Prasad said that India is on its way to become a global power with march of technology and asked the telecom industry to focus on innovation around 5G technology to create products with India specific patents.

He said that India generates huge amount of data and has a potential to emerge as global hub for data analysis, data innovation and data refinery while prioritising privacy.

"India must become a centre of telecom equipment manufacturing... low cost telecom products. COAI should be a partner," Prasad said at a curtain raiser event of India Mobile Congress.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) last year recommended for the formation of a unit within the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to promote the manufacture of domestic telecom equipment.

TRAI recommended the establishment of a Telecom Research and Development Fund (TRDF), with an initial corpus of Rs 1,000 crore. The fund should seek to promote research and innovation for the designing, manufacturing and testing domestic telecom equipment.

"I want mobile sector to ensure that start-ups should be encouraged more and more. So I want mobile sector to work in conjunction with start-ups," Prasad said. He asked the industry to come with innovative 5G products in areas like mobile, healthcare, agriculture and other sectors which have potential to reap its benefit.

Talking about digital data generated in India and gaining importance in the sector, Prasad said the government is coming up with robust data protection legislation and will not compromise on data sovereignty.

Industry body COAI at the event announced that the three day India Mobile Congress will be held between October 14-16, 2019.

Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said the number of exhibitors this time at the event is expected to be double the size of last year's. PTI PRS MBI

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