Pure-play telecom companies evolving into large digital networks offering full stack of services is a "positive development" that augurs well for the "new normal" of work-from-home, distant education, telemedicine and other virtual applications, Trai Chairman R S Sharma said.
Describing the sector as a "shining star" for maintaining 24X7 connectivity even amid the COVID-19 crisis, Sharma said telecom has become more important and necessary for overall life of the community than ever before, adding that he expects the trend to continue.
"We should not waste this crisis, we should actually leverage this crisis for becoming a digital superpower and knowledge society, and it should accelerate the implementation of digital India," Sharma told PTI.
Large telecom companies are using artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning in a significant way already to improve services and optimise resources, he said.
"My sense is that pure-play telcos will also move in that direction of digital networks... of providing many other services also. That is the way things are moving.
"I see it as a very positive development because ultimately we have to make this a new normal...then we have to have work-from-home, distant education, telemedicines, digital healthcare network, and other elements," Sharma said.
Telecom today has moved from voice to predominantly data.
"And when you talk of data and digital applications which are consuming the data, that is the direction in which the networks have to go," Sharma emphasised.
He observed that the pandemic-induced crisis and the resultant work-from-home culture has made people comfortable with working with collaborative tools and solutions.
"So cost, time and resources are getting optimised, and we are also becoming comfortable," Sharma said.