Speaking at the India Mobile Congress, Mittal - who shared the dais with arch industry rival Mukesh Ambani (Reliance Industries chairman) - advocated a collaborative approach to overcome challenges and unleash the growth potential.
One, he said: "We must explore and implement innovative ideas to generate employment, self-employment and income-generation opportunities for millions of youth". Ambani said the pace at which the Indian mobile industry has grown is unparalleled in the world and in next 10 years, the economy will grow from a $2.5 trillion economy to a $7 trillion and rank among the top three economies in the world.
Highlighting the achievements of the Indian telecom industry so far, Ambani claimed that in the next 10 years, India will grow from a United States dollars 2.5 trillion to a USD 7 trillion economy and rank among the top three economies in the world. "It is the digital platform that the government has rightly picked up as the corner-stone of transforming India", he added. "We have to provide ubiquitous access to high-speed data at affordable prices", the billionaire owner of Jio said.
"Twenty years ago, call rates used to be between Rs 19-25 per minute, but due to their (Ambani and Mittal) healthy competition, now there is free talktime, and data is the new oil", he said. He also said that data has emerged as the new oil. He believes that India can grow and prosper like never before and that mobile technology can "pave the path" to a better quality of life for all Indians.
The older firms have accused Jio of using deep pockets to create a monopoly. We all have to come together. "And to make this happen, the Indian telecom and IT industry has to play a foundational role in creating the digital infrastructure", said Ambani during his speech.
He said the industry is offering "yeoman service" and infusing large amounts of money in strengthening the infrastructure. 20,000 crore investment. Mukesh (Ambani) is putting up a lot of investment and I am sure other telecom players are as well. He put the debt of the industry at about Rs 4,50,000 crore and return on capital at about 1 per cent and "all of this is a problem to acknowledge". Airtel will invest around Rs 18,000 to Rs 20,000 crore this year, he said, adding that the industry overall will be injecting Rs 50-60,000 crore to build digital infrastructure. Mittal started his address at the inaugural India Mobile Congress (IMC) by referring to his industry peer as, "my dear friend Mukesh Ambani and all of you" after greeting the ministers and senior government functionaries.
Prasad attended the event after attending the Cabinet meeting, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the morning.