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High Expectations

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VoicenData Bureau
New Update

According to VOICE&DATA estimates, the total broadband equipment market stood

at Rs 1,510 crore in 2007-08 as compared to Rs 900 crore in 2006-07, a robust

growth of 67.8%. UTStarcom has emerged as the top player in the market with a

total increase of 58.3% in the broadband equipment sector as compared to last

year. The company has increased its revenue from Rs 300 crore in 2006-07 to Rs

475 crore this fiscal. The other top players include Cisco, Huawei, ZTE, Nokia

Siemens, Alcatel-Lucent, and Nortel.

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In 2007-08, UTStarcom signed a contract with United Telecom (UTL) to deliver

Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) bandwidth on demand, and voice-over-IP (VoIP)

services in Goa.

The contract represented the company's first GEPON (Gigabite Ethernet Passive

Optical Network) win in India and is expected to provide more than 100,000

subscribers with high-speed access to numerous new services including IPTV and

e-governance applications.

The company is also working with Aksh Optifiber for supply of IPTV solution,

which Aksh is using to run IPTV services on MTNL broadband network and installed

base of their broadband equipment with major wireline operators-BSNL, Bharti,

Tata, and Reliance among national operators, and MTNL, Shyam Telecom, and HFCL

among regional or city focused operators.

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Cisco received orders from across segments including SMEs, education, IT/ITeS,

manufacturing, retail, BFSI, and the government. The company has retained the

second position and has increased its revenue from Rs 230 crore in 2006-07 to Rs

240 crore in 2007-08, thereby showing a growth of 4.4% during the last fiscal.

According to VOICE&DATA estimates, Huawei, another key player in the

broadband equipment segment, has increased its revenue from Rs 185 crore in

2006-07 to Rs 195 crore in 2007-08, thereby showing a promising growth of over

5.4% in the previous fiscal.

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For Huawei, 3G contracts with Bharti in Sri Lanka was a major breakthrough in

the last fiscal. The company has helped MTNL to deploy its MPLS (multi-protocol

label switching) backbone network, thereby providing Indian users with a variety

of quality carrier-class services including the Internet, VoIP, and IPTV.

For the urban roll out through the multi-play project of BSNL, ZTE has

acquired 20% market share. However, in the rural project of BSNL, ZTE is the

leading supplier with nearly 70% market share. In the rural project of BSNL, ZTE

claimed to achieve business from BSNL worth approximately Rs 400 crore.

Last year, Alcatel-Lucent also successfully managed to bring new projects to

the market. The company's C-Dot Alcatel Research Center (CARC) is coming out

with a product family of low-cost CPEs that are specifically designed to meet

the needs of India and other maturing markets. CARC is also partnering local

application developers to ensure that applications such as e-governance,

e-health, and e-education for the Indian market in an effort to boost the WiMax

ecosystem in the country.

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Nokia Siemens Networks has managed the integration challenges of the merger

of two companies-Nokia Networks and Siemens Communications-and maintained a

blend of expansion contracts and made an entry into the clients of key

competitors.

Current Scenario



In India, broadband is going through a phase of significant development.

According to estimates, over 80% of the Indian broadband subscribers have DSL

connections and the rest account for cable, Ethernet LAN, and fiber.

While DSL is expected to be deployed in a growing manner, WiMax and 3G

deployments will depend on the spectrum auction and ease of regulations by the

government.

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There is also a significant increase in adoption in the outdoor wireless

network solution, which uses wireless mesh technology, wireless bridging, and

WiMax.

With the market getting mature, the opportunities for the growth of wireless

products and solutions are also growing. Consumers have also started to realize

the benefits of an enveloping wireless network, and mobile applications.

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Adoption of wireless is basically fueled by the growing adoption of laptops

among organizations and professionals.

The FY 2007-08 saw emergence of technologies and applications such as IPTV,

IP telephony, and metro Ethernet in a growing manner. Different operators with

trial orders explored VDSL, and the adoption of GEPON was also in the picture.

Service providers are now focusing more on triple-play services.

The country has 135 operational ISPs; however, only 72 service providers

offer broadband services. Six major players-BSNL, MTNL, Bharti, Sify, Reliance,

and Tata-presently eclipse the broadband industry.

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As consumers enjoy the benefits of current deployments, increased awareness

of and interest in the service will lead to higher demand and more adoption of

various services.

The convenience factor will certainly drive broadband growth in India where

the concepts such as e-education, e-health, e-commerce, 3-play have already

started to make their existence felt, especially in rural India. The rural

population is going to be the key focus area in FY 2008-09.

Considering the needs of rural India, Ericsson launched the Gramjyoti Rural

Broadband Project in FY 2007-08, by introducing benefits of the WCDMA/HSPA

technology with the aim to connect communities to high-speed Internet services.

Around 18 villages and 15 towns close to Chennai will be benefited from this

project based on mobile broadband solutions. The project aims at providing

services such as telemedicine, e-education, e-governance, live TV, and

entertainment.

In FY 2008-09, infrastructure sharing among various operators is expected to

turn out increasingly, especially in terms of connecting the rural sector.

Furthermore, any redundant delay in 3G and WiMax rollouts could witness large

deployments of DSL in 2008-09. The tryout networks for WiMax and 3G are also

likely to rollout for WiMax and 3G in the coming years.

To meet demand and maintain profitability for various service providers,

there is a strong need to emphasize on the increasing network capacity and

efficiency. Simplifying networks and business processes are also going to be

crucial.

As the mobile industry is confronting a precipitous decrease in voice ARPU,

companies are intensifying their presence by offering voice services in

far-flung areas and high-margin data services in urban areas to increase their

revenues.

Prodigious Expectations



The government has set the target of 20 mn broadband connections nationwide

by 2010; however, the nation has about 3.8 mn connections at present which

clearly indicates the much needed efforts, especially in terms of infrastructure

and cost-effective services to reach even half the target within this timeframe.

There has been an exponential growth in demand for the services that need

broadband capabilities. The need for broadband deployment is clearly evident

from the number of technology trials carried out by operators globally.

According to a VOICE&DATA survey, the deployments of pre-mobile WiMax

solutions by many operators to test the market and meet the demand clearly

bespeak the significant demand for services today. As India's accomplishment in

exploring broadband has been quite restricted, it seems mobile broadband and 3G

are the more feasible solution to expand broadband penetration.

The urban market users are searching for high-speed mobile connectivity to

enhance their broadband experience from simple browsing and downloading to

high-speed data transfer, gaming, entertainment, and education. With the mobile

phone offering a lofty speed data computing, 3G, video-audio streaming, and lots

of other features, it is going to play a key role in providing a single device

for all kinds of communications.

On the other hand, in rural areas, the spotlight is on to provide health,

general education, entrepreneurship skills, medicine, and high-end technical

guidance through the help of various broadband applications such as

videoconferencing, e-commerce, etc.

Market expectations include high speed, high reliability, secure and fully

mobile wireless infrastructure that could provide the possibility of having

immediate access to content for end-users by the way of information,

entertainment, and commerce.

Operators are also expected to invest in upgrading core networks and

next-generation networks (NGN) architecture to provide fixed mobile convergence

and revenue generating services such as IPTV.

The overall rollout of broadband in the country is comparatively slow;

however, analyzing the plans of operators in the country, the growth looks

promising. For instance, BSNL, which already has 3 mn broadband connections, is

expected to lead its broadband connections by various contracts upto 10 mn by

2010.

Various entertainment and lifestyle-centric applications will play a strong

role in 2008-09 in creating urban-centric revenue models.

As with various initiatives by the government and other agencies, PC

penetration and Internet education are likely to increase in schools. Government

offices are also embracing broadband connectivity, thereby enhancing their

skills in a competitive environment.

Various initiatives by the government, vendors, and service providers in

terms of PC literacy and localized content for the benefit of rural areas will

make the pedestal for swift growth for the broadband market in India.

Outlook



The factors that would drive the broadband scenario in India would be

decreasing cost per line, decreasing operating expense, high PC penetration,

social attitudes, and lifestyle of embracing broadband facilities. SMEs, rural

India, and educational institutes would be the key focus areas for making

broadband happen in India.

The price challenge is also going to be a key focus area for all operators

and vendors. Low CPE (customer premise equipment) and low base station prices

will also drive the growth pattern in a significant manner. At present, because

of the various factors such as captivating space for tower, cabling, housing,

and installing base stations, the cost of wireless network is quite high in the

initial stage of its deployment.

Carriers that are aggressively working on DSL penetration in the urban market

represent a key share in broadband infrastructure.

The broadband infrastructure business, both on copper via ADSL 2+ technology

and via wireless access through a mix of traditional mobile technologies, viz,

3G, HSDPA, HSUPA, CDMA-1X (EVDO) Rev B, and the emerging 802.16-based WiMax

technology, is expected to grow in leaps and bounds.

In 2008-09, it is expected that more wireless licenses of different systems

would be issued to operators. It would be a combination of multiple services

offered for all business operators to increase customer allegiance.

Jatinder Singh



jatinders@cybermedia.co.in

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