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The breadth of wireless networking talent in India is second to none: Himanshu Motial, Cambium Networks

By Anusha Ashwin

Headquartered in Rolling Meadows, IL, USA, and with R&D centers in Ashburton, England; and Benagluru, India, Cambium Networks is etching its own mark as a leader in providing wireless solutions to far and beyond. In an interaction with Voice&Data, Himanshu Motial, Regional Vice President, APAC of Cambium Networks, gives details on the company’s big plans for India.

Voice&Data: In a nutshell, can you give an overview of Cambium Networks and its products?

Himanshu Motial: At Cambium Networks, we “Connect the Unconnected — People, Places and Things”. Simply put, wherever fiber cannot reach — whether dense urban cities or distant rural — we can rapidly enable high speed broadband connections through ‘fixed wireless’ solutions.

We can take broadband from point of fiber to several kilometers away over the air through our Point-to-Point solutions, then distribute that wirelessly through Point-to-MultiPoint solutions. At the end of each of these points we can light up Wi-Fi services, or carry out backhaul of Video Surveillance, Telecom Small Cells or Industrial SCADA. The entire end-to-end wireless network can be managed from the cloud over a single window, which saves labor costs and improves end customer response time.

We have enabled these connections in extreme conditions, from the harsh heat of Rajasthan’s villages to the harsh cold at the base camp of Mt. Everest lighting up the world’s highest known Wi-Fi hotspot. We have connected over a lakh of locations in India that are enjoying high speed broadband proudly enabled by Cambium Networks via our ‘affordable high quality’ products.

Cambium was a part of Motorola until 2011 at which point a divestment happened and Cambium was born. Our global headquarters are at Rolling Meadows off Chicago.

Voice&Data: When did Cambium foray India and why was India chosen as a preferred destination to set shop with an R&D center for the APAC region?

Himanshu Motial: Cambium has been offering services in India prior to inception as Motorola, and thereafter as Cambium Networks since its inception in 2011. Today most of the major telecom operators and top Wireless ISPs in India and Asia rely on Cambium Networks to serve their end customers.

The India R&D center was inaugurated in Bengaluru in January 2014. The breadth of wireless networking talent in India is second to none and has helped propel innovation at Cambium. Having a R&D centre in India also helps us to be closer to our customers in India and in APAC, some of the fastest growing economies in the world with increased connectivity requirements that Cambium is uniquely position to fulfil.

Voice&Data: How does Cambium cater to the Indian market? Are all the products designed specifically for the India market?

Himanshu Motial: Our products are designed in India for global markets. Our engineering team integrate closely with key Internet Service Providers and Telecom operators to constantly innovate and design carrier grade high quality yet affordable products keeping in view India’s low ARPU, high interference and demanding terrain. These products find application not only in India and other emerging markets, but also several developed markets. 

Voice&Data: Considering that there are quite a few dominant commercial wireless equipment providers in India, how does Cambium create an edge over them and what is the company’s USP?

Himanshu Motial: The company’s USP is designing and building highly scalable and yet affordable products that manage to keep consistent connection even in the face of high interference and harsh terrain conditions. We can establish these connections in the unlicensed spectrum saving operator’s license fees and connections can be made even when there is no line of sight, allowing more flexibility of site selections. Finally, all of this can be managed over the cloud from a single window which saves service costs. In summary, we provide customers high quality products needed to meet high uptime SLA’s while reducing Total Cost of Ownership.

Voice&Data: Since Cambium’s foray in India, how has the company performed in terms of sales and revenue?

Himanshu Motial: India presents one of our largest growth opportunities. Over the last three years we have grown at a CAGR of 70% and expect this pace to continue in coming three years. Most of the major telecom operators, Wireless ISPs and O&G customers have trusted Cambium to build reliable high-speed broadband networks. We serve these customers through a closely managed and steadily growing group of 250 System Integrator reseller partners.

We have three Global Design Centres around the world, and the faster growing Centre is in Bengaluru, India.

Voice&Data: Could you quote a few large scale significant Indian clients and their testimonial to your service?

Himanshu Motial: Some of our major customers in India include telecoms AirTel, Tata Communications, BSNL, Reliance Communications, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Shaildhar Telecom Services and the wireless ISPs such as Tikona, Sify, Air Jaldi, LMES, AirMesh, and Icenet. Our portfolio also has Govt projects including eGovernance SWAN at Gujarat, Assam, Tripura. Railtel, RISL and large enterprises such as O&G, Utilities: BHEL, Reliance, and ONGC.

We have enabled Wi-Fi at the base camp of Mt. Everest, the highest known hotspot on earth. Connectivity to stadiums and athletes’ lodging during the recent South East Asian Games hosted in India were powered by Cambium’s end-to-end fixed wireless.

Voice&Data: Can you share Cambium’s next two-year plan for the India market?

Himanshu Motial: India represents one of our highest growth markets. We are excited as Digital India’s plans to enable Smart Cities, Rural Connectivity and Industrial IOT are beginning to play out. Cambium’s products and services are uniquely poised to serve these needs. We envisage growth in the range of 70% CAGR over the coming three years.

This will be driven by our participation in Smart City, Rural Connectivity and Industrial IOT projects. Our ability to offer end-to-end wireless connectivity managed by a single window over the cloud, offers highly reliable and affordable quality products needed to serve these projects. We will continue to lead by innovation investing in our Design Centre in India. Today, the company invests nearly 20% of topline revenue into R&D.

We will also expand partnerships with Training and Learning Centers to create job enrichment by contributing to India’s highly trained workforce. This talent pool will design and rollout world class wireless connectivity for WiFi Operators, Smart Cities, Rural villages and Industrial IoT.

Voice&Data: There has been a multi-fold increase in internet penetration in India, even to rural parts. What is the plan for rural India?

Himanshu Motial: Over the last two years Cambium Networks has been actively participating in Rural Connectivity projects and we have enabled wireless broadband connections in over thousands of villages through Wireless ISPs and Telecom Operators. These are projects with RailTel, BSNL, LMES, Shaildhar, Air Jaldi.

Voice&Data: On a comparative scale, how would you rate India’s consumption for wireless broadband products as against other developed/developing countries?

Himanshu Motial: India’s consumption of wireless broadband has been growing on an exponential scale and we expect it to continue growing this way in the near future too. While urban connectivity has been improving rapidly, there is large growth still to come from connecting semi-urban and rural areas where according to some reports over 750 million potential new internet users live. In the near future, most of these users will need access to everything from social networking, online shopping to entertainment, and broadband services will have to expand rapidly to meet this need.

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