“Market Is Where The People Are”

Ian Pope, managing director of Digital Microwave India (Pvt) LtdDigital
Microwave Corporation is the most well-known specialized
microwave company in the telecom business today. It has opened
its Indian subsidiary keeping in view the potential of the
market. In an interview with Voice & Data, Ian Pope,
managing director of Digital Microwave India (Pvt) Ltd, shares
his thoughts on the Indian market and the challenges before him.

How do you see the Indian market?

In the long run, market is where the people
are. India’s market potential is certainly very promising.

How do you compare it with other
countries in the region?

India is a different market from other
countries. But then, all markets are different from each other.
(But) I won’t say India is a difficult market.

What are the positive and/or negative
things in India for Digital Microwave?

India is great on the technology side. It has
an English speaking population. And that makes day-to-day working
easier.

On the negative side, bureaucracy prevails,
even in business. The decision making is slower. Then, the market
has not grown so rapidly. But that, I feel, is temporary and is
due to a general slowdown of business.

Digital Microwave did quite well in the
metro cellular round, when it was hardly known. But then, it
could not repeat the same success story in the circle cellular
round …

There is one major reason for that. In the
circle round, the operators placed all orders on the turnkey GSM
network supplier. This was due to financing reasons. Many telecom
majors supplied on supplier’s credit. That was the major
problem.

Has the status changed now?

No. But, we have formed strong partnerships
with some equipment companies like Motorola. And we plan to
approach the customers through these companies.

But will you not be competing with these
companies in certain ranges?

Yes. But that is how this business is. We
partner with a company in Malaysia and compete with it in
Indonesia. So, that is nothing new to us.

What will be your role?

We will not only take care of the microwave
part in the network, but also focus on increasing awareness. We
are planning to conduct roadshows and seminars on microwave.

How do you see the basic service market?

The potential is great. However, the priority
for a basic service provider today is to start service as soon as
possible. So, his concern is access network. After that, he will
go for long-distance connectivity and look for microwave.
Financing will still be important.

What about the non-telecom market like
corporate and utilities?

Yes. That is an emerging market. But at this
stage, there has to be a lot of education. How does microwave
compare with other media. What are the advantages and what are
the implementation problems …

We need the media’s co-operation for that.

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