"The e-governance project of the government, including the ones spelt out in the Railway budget, would easily get better the sectoral revenue by at least 2%," said Rajan Mathews, director general of GSM industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), adding that this could just be the tip of the iceberg until these services pick up. "MTNL and BSNL together account for only 11% of the subscribers. The government will need to rope in private telecom operators to allow high-speed connectivity.
The COAI represents top cellular operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular. India's cellular and broadband revenue is presently close to $30 billion (Rs 180,000 crore) and is growing 10%-11% annually.
Railway minister DV Sadananda Gowda said the focus was to bring a total change in the delivery of railway services and introducing destination arrival SMSes, ticket booking through mobile and wake-up calls, among others. The railways also propose to provide workstations in select trains on payment basis to add value to business travellers. Supervising hygiene at stations on large screens and high-speed connectivity through Wi-Fi mean the government will award contracts which are all great business chances for the telecom sector.