Amit Marwah Issue: India 2015
Article no.: 6
Topic: Telecom: Next level of growth
Author: Amit Marwah
Title: CTO, India
Organisation: Nokia Nwetworks
PDF size: 203KB

About author

With over 20 years of professional experience in technology, presales and business management positions, Amit has in-depth understanding of the Indian telecommunication market. He has held various roles in organizations like Lucent Technologies where spend more than 7 years in roles from operations to technology presales. He moved to Motorola as the Senior Manager in the Engineering and sales team and spend about 3 years there, joined Nokia between 2005 and 2009 as Network Solution Manager and then Head of Core Networks for India. Amit was also the Director for Core Networks at Huawei Technologies (2009 to 2011) and rejoined NSN in 2011 where he was engaged in New Business Acquisition.

His current role in Nokia Networks as CTO India region include technology positing and value based augmentation that have both internal and external (operators, regulatory and policy oriented) interfacing roles focusing on topics s.a. network security, technology evolution, Standardization, Spectrum management and other 3GPP linked matters.

Article abstract

A large part of India is yet to be penetrated by mobile broadband. As smart devices are becoming rapidly cheaper, their increased penetration will increase data consumption, as well as the requirement to spread coverage into increasingly suburban, residential and rural areas. 

Full Article

India is at a very interesting stage of telecom revolution. Recent reports show that smart devices will surpass PCs/Laptops as primary mode of internet access in India and this proliferation will explode. Mobile internet and mobile only habits are emerging fast and influencing consumption habits. There are over 40% of searches on Google that originate from mobile devices and 30% of Facebook users in India are mobile-only Internet users / brands investing in apps and encouraging adoption.

We are seeing a lot of momentum for data revenue and we expect the trend to continue. Towards the end of 2014, the mobile operators took steps in successfully monetizing the mobile data growth which have started to make the industry financials look healthy. Customers across the world expect their experience of mobile broadband to be smooth, continuous and rapid. Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology is the most efficient mobile broadband technology for providing an excellent user experience. Although 3G will be the main vehicle of mobile data in India for next year and a half, the country will see advancement of LTE meaningfully in 2015.

In 2015, we will also see operators piloting heterogeneous network and small cell solutions to effectively manage the mobile data coverage. We also expect transformation of pure network Managed Services to expand its scopes into ‘(end user) service management’ and ‘predictive operations’ in the coming year. Analytics and Customer Experience Management (CEM) will play a key role in monetization of mobile data next year. 2015 will see all these technologies progress further and we expect customers & consumers to be far more demanding of the entire ecosystem – whether its quality of network, quality of service & quality of experience.

There is tremendous potential for mobile broadband in India. The question really is of need and affordability, which varies across different segments of consumers. We believe every technology will have its own set of unique customers as the country moves up the internet consumption maturity curve. Mobile broadband experience for users is a challenge at present, with only a third being able to access internet over a mobile broadband network every time they attempt. ‘Consumers’ value broadband and their expectations around experience are evolving fast. Users also value superior network performance as they rate network reliability, coverage and speed as the top three parameters for a good mobile broadband experience. Operators looking to effectively monetize broadband services and tap future growth opportunities need to significantly invest in scaling network performance in three areas – ensuring network ubiquity, consistent app coverage and new charging models based ‘personalization’ that address consumer’s specific preferences.

According to a recent MBit Index study by Nokia Networks highlighting details about mobile broadband performance in India – there was an increase of 74% in mobile data traffic generated by both 2G and 3G mobile broadband services at the end of 2014. This rise was primarily driven by a strong 3G growth with 114% increase, while the 2G data traffic growth was reported to be 41%. Furthermore, although 4G in India is in its early stage, the country already has 5.5 mn 4G capable devices but only about 85,000 subscribers are active LTE users. It indicates significant opportunity for selective rollout of 4G networks and services in the country.

However, a large part of India is yet to be penetrated by mobile broadband. As smart devices are becoming rapidly cheaper, their increased penetration will increase data consumption, as well as the requirement to spread coverage into increasingly suburban, residential and rural areas. Nevertheless the voice market is still big, providing a significant proportion of operator’s revenue. Therefore, in the search for additional Mobile Broadband spectrum, there will continue to be a search for ever smarter use of spectrum for voice services.

With developments such as 4G and ubiquitous Wi-Fi setting the stage, we’re rapidly approaching the next iteration of voice.

Additionally, I strongly believe that government’s Digital India initiative can make a great difference to the country right now. To accomplish a truly Digital India, the government must start by building on the infrastructure that is already in place, and integrating the right technology — to accelerate the delivery of services that create a more connected society.

4G rides the wave of next mobile Internet revolution
High speed use cases like education, streaming entertainment, enterprise productivity applications will play a major role to promote LTE. The quest that began with a need for faster data services on the move have ramped up its pace today with the advent of LTE (Long Term Evolution) or 4G, as it is popularly known as. Faster uplink and downlink speeds, lower latency, the ability to scale effectively to enable operators in supporting ever-growing data right through, and a more satisfactory user experience are some propositions that have driven several early LTE launches. Nearly all operators utilizing 3GPP (Global System for Mobile Communications [GSM]/UMTS) or 3GPP2 (CDMA) and WiMAX technologies are poised to migrate to LTE at some point in the next 10 years. This means a more advanced end-to-end evolution of the LTE services ecosystem.

According to market studies, the LTE market, with this migration of networks, is set to grow at a CAGR of 56 percent over the next 7 years, and will eventually represent more than 20 percent of all mobile connections by 2020.

The past several years have seen the development of underlying technologies that stand to redefine telecommunications, and in 2015 some of these innovations will begin to bear fruit. Here are a few key developments to look for in 2015 that will have a profound impact on the telco industry.

The next stage of the Telco Cloud
It starts with the next phase of something that has been around for more than a decade. Internet companies, for example, have the agility within their infrastructure to rapidly develop and deploy new services to attract customers and generate revenue. Up to this point, we have not seen this within the telco industry. Now, however, operators are taking the next big step by actually deploying commercial clouds within their infrastructure that will be responsible for providing traditional network services and delivering new innovative services to customers.

Voice over LTE
VoLTE is a transformational technology that brings voice communications into the 21st century. Anyone who has ever had to say “D as in Delta” during a phone call knows the limits of clarity, as traditional networks limit the audio frequencies that are transmitted in order to save bandwidth. VoLTE, however, provides true high-definition audio that delivers the full spectrum of sound to the user for crystal-clear communications to greatly improve the user experience.

With LTE now available all over the world and the almost ubiquitous availability of Wi-Fi, the path has been cleared for two major developments in the way voice services are delivered and consumed. One of these is Voice over LTE (VoLTE). We have seen the first deployments of this in 2014, and it will become more mainstream this year as more providers roll it out to customers.

Not only does this benefit the customer, but telco operators experience dramatically improved efficiency in the use of the network. As one of the first services based on cloud technology to be deployed, VoLTE delivers 15 times the efficiency of traditional network architecture, allowing call volumes to expand while reducing total bandwidth demands. This frees up more resources for carrying data, which is still seeing an explosion in demand. And the provider that can deliver such improved service to customers is likely to be rewarded with improved customer loyalty.

VoWifi
The innovation will continue in 2015 with the rise of Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWifi). Like VoLTE, VoWifi takes advantage of improved network infrastructure for new means of providing voice service – in this case, extending the use of Wi-Fi to complement 4G networks. With cell towers being outdoors and potentially far from the user, some wireless customers suffer from poor indoor reception. But while their 3G or 4G connection might be weak, wireless networks have popped up nearly everywhere.

VoWifi takes advantage of this ubiquity by delivering seamless voice communications over the wireless network to complement the provider’s network. With cell and Wi-Fi coverage working together, poor signal strength becomes a thing of the past.

The innovations coming to service providers and customers in 2015 all begin with significant network improvements that break through the impediments to innovation, yielding new services including VoLTE and VoWifi. And as operators’ infrastructure becomes more powerful and dynamic, watch as more tools are developed to increase the power of communication.

All in all, I feel there are numerous opportunities out there. Telecom industry is at a very exciting stage and this year will see a lot of further growth. The stage is set; the opportunity is for India to realise.