Catching Up

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

Wireless technology is clearly the call of the day with India's

telecommunications industry being dominated by huge growth in the wireless

market. In the aftermath of technologies like 3G and WiMax, the demand will

follow an upward growth.


In the Indian rural landscape, wireless is the obvious choice for operators

and the critical success factors will be to improve coverage while reducing

operational costs. For the rural hinterland, the challenges are big, and

providing wireless connectivity to the customer premises is like winning only

half the battle. At the heart of any well designed wireless deployment is a

reliable, diverse, and robust backhaul network. Optimizing the network with the

antennas-which are usually a de facto component in the wireless kit

infrastructure-will be the focus.

When compared to the global market, India offers a huge opportunity with a

teledensity (both fixed and wireless) and Internet density of less than 50%.

According to research firms IDC and Business Monitor International, the overall

Asia Pacific market is expected to reach 2.2 bn subscribers by 2012 and India,

together with China, will continue to lead the growth.

Expert Panel

Navin Vohra, VP, sales, India and SAARC, Andrew Wireless Solutions

Shailendra Badoni, COO, Datacraft India


Market Scenario

In the current scenario, many antenna technologies are catching up in the

market. Antennas which support multi bands, high-gains and variable tilts have

gained support and trust from the market. While tri-band antennas and MIMO

technology based antennas are gaining mileage in the mobile and office segments,

the industry is also witnessing higher performing antennas that have more

control on radiation patterns to improve capacity, and decrease interference.

Multi-band antennas continue to be a hot issue as we see UMTS (3G) services

being overlaid in traditional 2G frequency bands. Through customized filtering

and combining solutions, site sharing of multiple technologies such as HSDPA,

HSUPA, and EV-DO, 1 X, EDGE, WCDMA, iDEN, and GPRS with existing 2G networks is


For India, the impending issuance of 3G licenses in this quarter means that

operators need to ensure their existing infrastructure on 2G will be able to

co-site and work with new infrastructure for 3G with minimal interference or

even upgrading the existing infrastructure to support 3G.


In addition to 3G, operators are testing technologies such as WiMax and LTE,

and, higher performing antennas to have more control on radiation patterns to

improve capacity and decrease interference.

CIO Concerns

  • Proper wireless intrusion prevention systems (WIPS) at the RF layer
  • WIPS should have the capability to do rogue AP/client detection and

  • Security issues
  • Selecting provider who can provide total value performance
  • Installing antennas
  • Optimize the network while keeping an eye on costs

Another interesting development is the concealment solutions as India's urban

areas put more and more focus on aesthetics. This involves hiding the antenna

and associated filter infrastructure to be more aesthetically pleasing.


As such, there is a shift and increase in demand for multi-band antennas for

site sharing and co-siting (a situation in which an operator wishes to locate

equipment on a property, such as a building rooftop, that is already being used

by another operator. But where the property is not wholly controlled, owned or

leased by that other operator) and make sites ready for 3G.

Ruling Trends

The Asia Pacific region consists of highly fragmented markets with both

developing and developed markets at different stages of technology evolution.

There are a lot of opportunities as the needs and requirements of customers at

different stages of technology evolution are varied. Developing markets focus

more on cost, and require simple and cost effective infrastructure solutions

like the 2G rollouts in India.

Analysts and experts say that the market is becoming more sophisticated

because of the tendency of the industry players to focus on more highly

engineered site architecture that could enable them to reap benefits such as

reduced operation costs, improved coverage in rural areas, share multiple

frequency bands, and greater control over their network.


The latest trend remains the customized filtering and combining solutions,

site sharing of multiple technologies with existing 2G networks is possible.

Way to Go
  • Shipping and logistics
  • Retail segment can use wireless hand helds to stock check
  • Rural connectivity (last mile connections)
  • In the aftermath of 3G, WiMax
  • Site sharing

New emerging verticals would be shipping and logistics, where wireless would

play an important role. Also, for organizations in the retail segment can use

wireless hand-helds to stock check, inventory check, price check (real time) to

smoothen their front-end and back- end operations. Apart from these two

verticals, rural connectivity (last mile connections) seems to mature up in

terms of transferring triple play traffic.


Keeping the rural hinterland in mind, the main aim is to help customers with

a rapid speed of deployment, and provide capabilities for remote management.

Being able to accurately pinpoint and diagnose network performance issues and

faults within increasingly complex networks, as well as monitor signal strength

and capacity easily, along with a complete tool set to make network construction

and development straightforward, is the only way to enhance the operating

efficiency of a cellular network and ensure all users can connect to the next

generation of services.

Developed markets on the other hand will focus on areas such as network

optimization, 3G, site acquisitions, and green networks. A lot of testing and

initial adoption of WiMax is taking place in India, Taiwan and Japan, as well as

LTE trials and planning across APAC.

With the rise of mobile data services, the need to provide complete access is

crucial and we have been seeing a lot of carriers looking to improve their

in-building solutions and this requires the ability to provide a seamless

end-to-end solution.


Pricing Issue

Antennas are usually considered a de facto component in the wireless kit

infrastructure. Therefore, client expects that the cost of antennas should be

practically 10% or less of the cost of the entire wireless kit. However, usually

it is not the case as there is a considerable cost involved in making antennas.

Therefore, nowadays manufacturers are trying to make in-built antennas with bare

minimal form factor. Additionally, antennas with high gain are also holding

prominence as they are very useful for outdoor connectivity.

Andrew Wireless antennas has an extensive range of 3G antennas, repeaters to

help operators deploy high quality networks quickly. Moreover, customers can

rely on their experience to integrate their 2G/3G feeder systems with diplexers

and combiners which can help to reduce the number of radio antennas on a radio

tower, reducing the weight and load from wind and potential ice, as well as the

necessary size of the tower itself.

Andrew came up with the strategy 'Think global, act local', so as to boost

the local production capabilities by significantly reducing freight and

inventory costs and improving delivery time and availability.

License bands for operators are usually auctioned by DoT at a very high

price. For example, currently there are auctions on licenses for 3G networks

which is an upcoming technology in wireless mobile communications.

Pricing is also crucial with site kitting, for example, different parts of

the RF sub-systems like cables, connectors, base stations, etc, are consolidated

and shipped as a single batch to the actual cell site. In some cases, the parts

are first fitted together and shipped to the site, which reduces the

installation time at the actual site.


High growth rates are expected for India, and the impending issuance of 3G

licenses this year means that operators need to ensure that their existing

infrastructure on 2G will be able to co-site and work with new infrastructure

for 3G with minimal interference or even upgrading the existing infrastructure

to support 3G.

From an operator's perspective the deployment of network hardware solutions

that are scalable, future proof and capex efficient will be a critical factor of

success in meeting consumer demands for coverage and performance. Operators need

to ensure that customers can connect to new services in mature markets in order

to increase their ARPU. In emerging and underdeveloped markets, the focus should

be on how to cost effectively add customers to their networks, expand capacity

in urban scenarios and coverage/reach in rural and remote areas, all cases where

emerging technologies such as WiMax may very well play a fundamental role.

By supporting these next generation services, operators can maximize RoI

within the network and leverage it for a competitive advantage. Nevertheless,

they need to better manage increasingly complex networks to respond more

effectively to customer demands, while at the same time become more streamlined

with regard to their capital investment.

For these reasons, operators need to continually optimize their existing

mobile networks. Making the most of available resources is not only common sense

but also backed up by technological arguments. At present, many operators follow

the standard path and address capacity problems by installing additional base

stations at huge expenses-both in terms of outgoings, manhours and high opex.

However, this solution can actually compound the problem. 3G is notoriously

sensitive to interference and too many base stations in close proximity can

disrupt and weaken the very signal they were supposed to strengthen.

By deploying the appropriate network optimization software at a fraction of

the cost of a new base station site, mobile operators can avoid issues of

network overload and dropped calls for their subscribers. The software, which

includes performance management, traffic management and capacity support, allows

network planners to fine tune capacity with the click of a mouse and understand

underlying network infrastructure. It also plays a critical role in asset

management by monitoring individual resources and the levels they are working


Service providers can run real-time environments to explore the most

efficient and cost effective option to enhance coverage and capacity, as well as

monitor core network in real-time to optimize the delivery of service.

Benchmarking tools are increasingly being used to review and enhance subscriber

experience, by allowing specific network problems to be fixed and providing

records of competitive advantage over similar wireless services.

Green and Lean

Certainly, technologies such as LTE will be hot as they will appeal to

operators looking at lowering cost of operations and increasing ARPUs. In

addition, location based services will enable value added services to drive

ARPUs as content can be tailored by location, social networking interaction

enhanced, and information distribution controlled.

However, green IT will have a major impact on the market as well. Andrew

remains committed to environmental protection through research, development, and

manufacturing efforts that help customers implement energy saving and energy

efficient solutions for their networks. For example, understanding the power

requirements for the cell sites and the fact that wireless mobile networks are

large emitters of greenhouse gases based on their need to be powered on.

As such, development of power amplifier technology is highly efficient and in

the case of back-up power for sites, we use fuel cells (hydrogen refill) instead

of batteries (which are not environmentally friendly and are difficult to


Impediments to Overcome

  • Area of coverage
  • Signal interference
  • Regulatory issues (licensed bands)
  • Channel allocation for unlicensed bands
  • Pricing issues

The additional benefits of hydrogen fuel cells include reliability, reduced

opex for operators, and extended runtime for back-up power. This not only helps

reduce the environmental impact of running a telecommunications network, but it

also has a faster and more reliable turn-on response, reaching full power in

less than a minute compared to three or four times of using diesel generators.

Network operators invest a large proportion of their funds into maintaining

and powering their network. Apart from the cost savings, more and more emphasis

is being placed on corporate social responsibility and its relation to brand

perception. The desire to reduce power consumption within the network no longer

simply comes from the stakeholders. Mounting pressures from consumer groups and

environmental watchers means that operators must look forward and ensure the

solutions they put in place to future-proof their networks are green and lean.

Robust Growth

The market is definitely promising in the years to come. However, one would

see reduction in form factor including internal antennas supporting multiple

bands, multi-technology (CDMA, GSM, Wi-Fi, WiMax) along with smart noise

reduction and interference mitigation capability. Wireless antennas are expected

to grow in the coming times with the demand from operators and enterprises going

up with each passing year.

It seems that at least a 20% annual growth rate would be apt for it to

qualify for on an exponential growth path.

Archana Singh