Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal [ Images ] on Friday said the mobile phone operators must move from voice-based revenue model and customers should gradually be charged only for data services and not for making calls.
"At the moment, revenue of industry depends on voice, it is time that the industry decides to move in a direction where revenues come from data and not from voice," Sibal said while speaking at CII broadband summit.
He said the operators need to change their mindset by moving away from voice services to data.
"The mindset of industry must change. So far the telecom sector has been thinking in terms of earning revenues from voice connectivity (phone calls). If you ask me, and I hope secretary (telecom) agrees with me, that infact there should be no charge on voice," Sibal added.
"The industry must move in that direction (making voice free) so that in years to come, talking to each other should not be taxed. There should be no charge for talking to each other," he said.
Sibal said broadband is fundamental to people's needs and should be seen how it can contribute to empower their life. "The real challenge is to help people, even those who are illiterate, to access information for their personal empowerment," he said.
The government is investing around Rs 35,000 crore (Rs 350 billion) on various broadband related projects which will create a secondary market of around Rs 3 lakh crore, Sibal added.
Talking about Rs 20,000 crore (Rs 200 billion) national broadband plan, Sibal said, "By December 2013 (optical) fibre cable will be laid".
He also said the Department of Telecom will soon approach Cabinet to seek approval for manufacturing five million 'Akash-2' tablets in the country.