|Topic:||Emerging! Defying the odds!|
|Title:||Chief Operating Officer|
SudeeshYezhuvath heads the overall operations of Subex, excluding the legal and financial functions. He has been associated with Subex since 1993 and has been instrumental in building the software business of Subex. He has been closely involved in the company’s M&A activities, including the integration process post acquisitions.
Mr.Yezhuvath has over 16 years of experience in the telecom field and has presented various papers on telecom and business operations in different parts of the world.
SudeeshYezhuvath holds a B. Tech degree in Instrumentation and Control. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Subex.
There can’t be any doubt of the broadbandvalue to developing countries. Beyond just better connectivity, the benefits include stimulating the economy, reaching isolated communities, providing better public services and bringing hope to the underserved population. The Middle East and Africa are regarded as a single region, but in fact they greatly vary in their levels of development, culture and wealth. While some carriers in the Middle East are already rolling out the first stage of LTE, while in Africa,any way of expanding available bandwidth is welcomed. There is now a sea change in the way broadband is promoted by governments in the region, which will pave the way for faster adoption.
In 2007, at a ‘Connect Africa’ meeting in Rwanda, barriers to broadband access were the key talking points. The vision was to ensure that more than a third of Africa’s citizens had access to broadband internet by 2012. Wereached year 2012, and there are manyopportunities in Africa for the people of Africa.
Broadband was rapidly adopted in the wealthier countries of the Middle East. However, wide income disparities across the region are reflected in broadband penetration rates. Lack of indigenous content in their native language is a problem both for the Internet and TV sectors.
Africa and the Middle East are in fact two diverse markets,where cultures diverge, yet they are combined together as MENA (Middle East & North Africa)in the globalization strategy. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach here anymore. Companies have opened their eyes to the diverse potential and opportunities.
In developed countries, people talk about communication, better networks and faster broadband. They are essentially trying to manage existing traffic seamlessly while offering better quality of service. This is different in developing nations, wherefaster connectivity means a lot more than that. It can be an indication of hope, opportunity and of thepotential of better quality of life.
The African and Middle Eastmarket
Growth in Africa’s Internet and Broadband sector has accelerated in recent years, due to improvements in infrastructure, the arrival of wireless access technologies and lower tariffs, according to Internet World Stats Report 2011. The report also states that Broadband is rapidly replacing dial-up networking as the preferred access method.
As the world’s most rapidly growing market for mobile telephony, Africa is also home to some of the fastest growing fixed-line markets in the world. Africa still has some of the world’s lowest penetration rates in both market sectors. However, with lower income groups being aggressively targeted by Communication Service Providers, a price-sensitive telecom market potential is fast emerging.
In the Middle Eastern region, broadband infrastructure varies from very advanced to extremely
rudimentary. Several FTTH (Fibre-to-the-Home) projects are under development in well-developed broadband connected countries such as Israel and the Gulf but in places such as Yemen and Iraq, penetration levels are abysmally low.
There is a sea change in the way communication infrastructure development activities are taking place today. Governments across the world are pushing for faster broadband deployment and using this initiative as part of their national economic and social development strategies. This is an extremely positive sign. It is no more just communication that is at stake. It is the ability to access information and services that brings value to the table. Faster broadband helps in community-building, delivering improved social and government services and increasing public program effectiveness. It connects small/medium businesses to their customers, rural people to better health-care, farmers to their markets and students to quality education.
The World Bank recently launched a regional initiative to improve broadband connectivity in the Middle East and North Africa region by bringing fibre optic networks owned by utilities into broadband use. With such concerted development efforts, these regions stand to gain economically and socially.
What’s the best way?
The key here is to find the best option that will work in these geographies. In a market like Africa, costs can be a significant factor. WiMax seems to be losing ground and support on the marketing front, at least. All the big operators are making noises about LTE (Long Term Evolution), but that is a long term plan. One needs to attain critical mass in order to make it successful. It will take at least five or more for LTE to be fully realised and commercialised. We need to find answers for affordable broadband now. Lack of spectrum is a huge challenge in Africa and that needs to be overcome. Industry experts agree that the best way forward for Africa would be to take the well-travelled road and follow existing international standards, gaining additional economies of scale.
In the Middle East, the very dynamic mobile market will help boost the growth of connectivity and communication infrastructure. Though most of these countries have high penetration levels already, they continue to show high growth rates. Increasing pan-regional competition, better eco-system building and adoption of explicit pro-broadband policies will be added factors to faster growth. This is one region that is set to change dramatically over the next decade with the rollout of national broadband networks and increasing demand from consumers.
A leading service provider headquartered in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) is currently rolling out its first commercial 4G service on its nation-wide LTE network as part of its plans to deliver mobile broadband experience to customers and there will be many more to follow in that market.
What does the future hold?
Going forward, delivering affordable, ubiquitous broadband connectivity will be as critical to social inclusion and economic prosperity as water and power. It will play a key role in furthering employment generation whilst building the next blocks of the Connected Community. With increases in bandwidth arriving thanks to EASSy, GLO1, LION, MENA, WACS etc, the cost of international connectivity will drop drastically.
With rapid proliferation of smart phones and other disruptive technologies and communication devices, maybe the day is not too far when places such as Africa and the Middle East will defy the odds in harnessing the power of communication, and will step into the next New World Order.