In an interview with Mobility, Shalin Shah, Co-GM-India Operations, UTStarcom shared some of his insights.
What are the plans for India?
Today, the telecom sector in India is experiencing a transition unlike anything we have seen before. Being one of the fastest growing big economies in the world, India is also experiencing a rapid growth of data consumption which is accelerating year after year. We are focusing on a number of key areas in the Indian market where our technologies can facilitate this growth. One such area that we have been very closely monitoring and looking forward to participating is the NOFN program. We aim to introduce our core competency, which is the packet optical transport where we have recently introduced 100 Gigabit Ethernet services product – TN765 that we think will be the best solution for the program. In India, we see a huge interest from operators in developing the Carrier Wi-Fi market, along with an interest in SDN/NFV (Software Defined Networking and Network Function Virtualization) technologies, which we seek to address with our cutting-edge products. Also with so much talk happening about Smart Cities, we are developing solutions that will help to address the requirements of the smart city network infrastructure.
How UTStarcom is partnering with Gov?
The government of India makes significant efforts to improve quality of people’s lives through many initiatives in IT and telecom sectors. UTStarcom, with its long time presence in India and with its focus on the Indian telecom market needs, embarked on the development of an ‘Advanced Indian Digital Highway,’ and looks forward to building close and efficient partnerships in the country within the scope of government initiatives. The company plans to offer cost-effective transport, aggregation and access networking solutions to support Wi-Fi deployment, NOFN and Smart City projects. We are closely following the government’s roadmap and have made our telecom infrastructure solutions portfolio ready to support its vision. We believe that the only way in which we can become a larger infrastructure player is by working closely with the government, developing products and solutions optimized for the needs of government initiatives. We have discussed recently with the government the expansion of broadband services in India, Smart City model and Wi-Fi implementation, and we see them as great breakthroughs for the country.
What are the new initiatives and innovations do you foresee in this segment?
The deployment of modern telecom infrastructure fitting into contemporary telecom market paradigm (including smart city deployments etc.) will require smart networks to guarantee reliable and efficient connectivity everywhere, every time and for everybody, providing at the same time a reliable technological platform to operators and service providers to boost their profitability and business growth.
We believe that the future of networking will rely more on software, which will accelerate the pace of innovation in the telecom industry as it has done in the computing and storage domains. SDN/NFV technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way our broadband service provider customers operate and meet the evolving needs of their end-users. SDN/NFV technologies help to enhance overall network performance and efficiency and improve customer experience, and are particularly useful in telecom networks for a speedier entry of value added services and business models into the telecom sector. Speaking about India, we have found the Indian market ready for the implementation of a PTN networks that are SDNised. We believe that India can jump directly from a legacy no-PTN infrastructure to an architecture that is fully ready for a SDN function. With explosive data traffic growth and swiftly evolving applications, customer needs as well as business models and requirements to telecom infrastructure, implementation of this technology will give a lot of benefits to the country in terms of networks efficiency, scalability and flexibility.
Another important area of innovation is Carrier Wi-Fi. With a number of new technologies facilitating seamless roaming (between hotspots, between Wi-Fi SPs, and even between Wi-Fi SPs and MNOs), improved quality of experience, integration with operator’s core (including mobile network core) and various embedded solutions for value-added services, Wi-Fi becomes the technology that can provide an optimal solution for many markets and verticals, and is going to play increasingly important role in the future telecom industry, being an important part of M2M, Internet of Things and other emerging trends.
As India has a vast area, what kind of challenges and roadblocks you are expecting and prepared to overcome?
The telecom industry faces serious challenges today, like growing customer expectations for reliable and efficient connectivity being available everywhere, serious imbalance between the growth of traffic and volume of provided services on one hand, and saturated ARPU and declining profitability on the other hand. These challenges along with growing competition in telecom sector are putting huge pressure on telecom operators and service providers. In order to keep profitable (or even survive), they must stand out in the market with the most advanced and creative services offering and attractive pricing. They have to hold the consumers’ interest in their services through the ability to adopt swiftly to changing market requirements and to evolving customers’ expectations, and they must use the most efficient, scalable and future-proof telecom technologies to keep their costs in check. UTStarcom helps them to address these needs with its cutting-edge network solutions, which are aimed at increasing the efficiency of telecom infrastructure, reducing related costs and providing the flexibility to implement various business models and swiftly introduce new services. We will be delivering cutting-edge packet optical transport and broadband access solutions coupled with a carrier grade Software Defined Networking platform to give telecommunications carriers the power to efficiently serve the rapidly growing demand for bandwidth from cloud-based services, mobile, streaming and other applications.
What is your role do you see for yourselves in the Smart City initiative?
Smart City is a great initiative aimed at increasing the efficiency of city infrastructure, reducing related costs, optimizing resources consumption, improving quality of life of city residents. With our smart network solutions, we promise to transform today’s static networks into flexible, programmable platforms with the intelligence to allocate resources dynamically, bringing lots of benefits to dynamic and adaptive telecom infrastructure of smart cities. We are ready with our transport, aggregation and access networking solutions that can fit into virtually any area of the smart city concept, providing an efficient and reliable access and transport telecom infrastructure for all Smart City applications.
Our carrier-grade Wi-Fi solution is extremely well suited for smart city access applications. The solution offers very high reliability and scalability, and provides extreme performance and extended feature set as required for smart city implementations. A single platform can serve up to 2.6 million subscribers through up to 120,000 wireless access points throughout the city. Our end-to-end Wi-Fi product portfolio consists of a full range of indoor and outdoor access points, centralized wireless network control system and services management solution that can efficiently address the needs of smart city related applications. The Wi-Fi network core based on highly efficient integrated all-in-one MSG platform helps to reduce TCO significantly, which may be critical for successful implementation of Smart City projects. On top of that, the solution offers multiple monetization options, which can make the smart city projects much more attractive to commercial service providers.